Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional information.
While Google Drive and iCloud are arguably the most well-known consumer cloud storage services out there, Microsoft OneDrive (Android, iOS) has continued to plug away over the years, and it's settled on some pretty reasonable pricing and shrewd integration with Office 365 and Windows 10. You might wonder why a company with Microsoft's deep pockets and brain power can't get a bigger slicer of the pie, though.
Google Drive is probably the most popular of the three services, despite it being the most expensive. OneDrive's 1TB (1,024GB) option for $7 a month or $70 a year is 30 percent less than Google's 1TB tier, and you get a subscription to Office 365 thrown into the bargain. (iCloud is actually the cheapest in terms of dollars per gigabyte at 2TB for $10 a month.)
So if OneDrive is the cheapest, and it comes with a premium office suite, why isn't the platform more successful? One of the reasons may be quality of life, and the company has just announced a number of updates coming out this month for the "Business" version of OneDrive. The individual changes may be modest by themselves, but they look like they will collectively improve the experience in subtle ways.
Microsoft program manager Stephen Rice says, "[W]e plan to bring many of these improvements to OneDrive Personal eventually as well."
For example, there's the Mobile Capture feature on iOS and Android. With this, you can use your phone's camera to scan a physical document or image and turn it into a file in your OneDrive cloud. This month, the capture feature will start asking you if you want to add custom metadata to the capture. Here, metadata is a description of the file, and it exists within the file, which can make it easier to organize now and find later.
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If you want to scan meeting notes (such as those scribbled on a whiteboard), the OneDrive app is also getting updated with an option to share this scan with the other people who were at the meeting.
It's one of those things that you were probably going to do anyway, and the app now streamlines this process for a faster workflow. If you're running from one meeting to another that day, you want to minimize the amount of time that you spend fiddling on your phone to share a document or image.
Speaking of sharing, OneDrive is also getting updated with a more standardized tool for this. Now it will look the same in OneDrive as it does in the apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
You don't need to pay for a subscription to see these updates in OneDrive, so you'll be able to see the changes as soon as they arrive without paying a dime. But be aware that the free version of the service limits you to just 5GB of storage.
Lance Whitney contributed to this report.
- Microsoft has announced a laundry list of quality-of-life updates coming to OneDrive this month, designed to improve your workflow for file sharing and data management.
- You can get 5GB of OneDrive storage for free, or you can get 1TB of storage for $7 a month or $70 a year, which includes a subscription to Office 365.
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