Web Consulting & Business Development Blog
Google Drive For Business Falls Astoundingly ShortBeing in the IT Industry for over 25 years now, I have used just about every software as a service from every major company there is including cloud storage services from Microsoft (OneDrive), Amazon, and Google. I've been consulting with a startup now that has the need for sharing large amounts of data (hi-res images and video) with multiple clients for multiple jobs. They decided to use G Suite for Business for a variety of reasons over Microsoft's solution. However we are beside ourselves regarding major holes in the functionality of the Google Drive cloud storage service from a business perspective.
I know most people might be inclined to say, "Have you considered using DropBox?" Of course. The problem with Dropbox is two-fold. First, you need to manage a whole separate set of user accounts. When you are already using G Suite for your business, it makes sense to try to stick with one platform rather than using apps on one platform and cloud storage on another. The second issue is the bigger one and that is, when you want to share large amounts of data with users outside your organization (aka clients), if you want them to be able to edit the data (update the files), the total size of all the shared data counts towards the external user's DropBox account storage quota. So if the data exceeds 2GB at some point, the client has to pay for a DropBox subscription to access the shared data. With Google Drive, not only can you share the data without requiring the user to pay for a Google G Suite Account, you can share it so they don't even need to sign up for and login to a Google account. That makes it much more convenient for many clients. And we are all about reducing complexity in the data sharing process with our clients.
But here's where Google Drive falls astoundingly short:
(1) You can't share anything in the organization's team drives with an external user. What that means is that you need to maintain a duplicate set of the portion of your data you want to share with the client on one of the organization's user account drives. We are just flabbergasted that Google apparently has yet to address a fairly common real-world application where an organization shares data with a client. Simply unbelievable.
(2) To make matters worse, you cannot copy files or folders from your team drives to a users drive. You can only move them. If you want to copy just files, you can make a local copy within the team drive then move them to the user drive for sharing with the external users. However it renames all the files "copy of ..." which is not desireable. However with folders, there's no option to create a copy of a folder. So in reality the only way to share a subset of data on a team drive with an external client is to download the folder(s) to the local PC, then upload it to the users drive. We actually start an Amazon AWS EC2 instance to do this just to take advantage of the ~ 300mbit upload speed. So we are sitting there wasting time and money to work around Google Drive for Business' limitations.
(3) The mandatory zipping when downloading several files is maddening when those files are already in compressed formats (such as JPEG, or MP4) because the zip process is SLOW. We can zip the same files on a Linux VPS host we pay $40/month for twice as fast as Google drive zips them, but more importantly, when selecting multiple files, there should be an option to download them individually - which Chrome is well capable of doing.
(4) We often see very strange behavior with Google Drive such as one user uploads serveral folders to the team drive and everyone else doesn't see the folders for several minutes. Or we get the spinning circle for 15 or 20 seconds while waiting for the folder display to load.
Google is a company with immense financial and intellectual resources. My guess is that the decision makers have not made it a priority to make their cloud storage solution more competitive with other business cloud storage solutions because it is a relatively lower source of profit compared to Google's other services. However, if you acknowledge the cloud storage can be considered an integral part of the cloud application platform, you realize you could lose many users to other competing solutions like Office 365 if your cloud storage doesn't stack up well against the competition. I hope someone in Google is aware of this and has engineers working on addressing the major limitations in the cloud storage service.