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Google Workspace vs. Google Drive: What to Choose?

Google offers many web services to improve workflow productivity. Among them, Drive and Workspace are the most commonly mentioned platforms. They both have many subscription plans and are aimed at a wide audience, which includes individual users and business representatives. 

Which of these services is right for you? To answer this question, we will compare Google Workspace vs Google Drive. We'll talk about the functionality, pricing, advantages, and limitations of both software solutions. 

What Is Google Workspace

Google Workspace is a comprehensive platform for increasing productivity with digital assets. It was previously known as Google Apps for Work and G Suite and got its current name in 2020. Workspace includes several key Google web services:

  • Cloud storage — Drive;
  • Email client — Gmail;
  • Applications for editing text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations — Docs, Sheets and Slides;
  • A service for creating websites with a minimum level of coding — Sites;
  • Applications for planning and creating schedules — Tasks and Calendar;
  • Text messenger and video communication service — Chat and Meet;
  • An interactive notebook with handwriting and voice recording functions — Keep;
  • A store of applications and integrations with other web services — Marketplace. 

The Google Workspace platform was created specifically for business. It allows you to collaborate on different digital assets, share ideas and valuable materials, quickly transfer files, and establish communication between individual company departments or project teams. What makes Workspace special is its comprehensive approach that covers multiple document formats and communication channels and allows you to further expand its functionality through the built-in app store. 

What Is Google Drive

Google Drive is a cloud storage service that is part of the Workspace platform. One of its key features is the ability to instantly share files with other users of Google services. You can flexibly configure access rights to shared drives, folders, and individual files, allowing others to edit, comment, or view your materials.  

When comparing Google Workspace vs. Drive, we should note that the latter service also has many productivity features. One of them is document sharing through the integration of Docs, Sheets, and Slides. They allow you to make edits collaboratively, track changes in real time, compare different file versions, and evaluate the contributions of each user individually. 

Another essential Drive feature is advanced search. You can search for digital assets by words in the text and title, owners and authors, creation and editing dates, current location, and access rights. 

Google Drive advanced search

Although Google Drive is part of the Workspace platform, it doesn't have a clear business focus. The cloud storage is suitable for business and personal use. You can subscribe to it to store personal documents or family photos. 

Comparison: Pricing and Storage Capacity

Basic Drive subscription is free for all Google account holders. It includes 15 GB of cloud storage, which is distributed among three services: Gmail and uncompressed images and videos in Photos. In addition, the following subscription plans are available:

  • Basic — 100 GB, $1.99 per month;
  • Premium — 2 TB, $9.99 per month;
  • Premium AI — 2 TB, access to Gemini AI, $22.99 per month. 

The first month of using paid subscription plans is free — you need to link a bank card, but you can cancel your subscription at any time. Paying bills in advance for a year, you get a 45% discount on the Basic and Premium subscription plans, which is unavailable for the AI version. 

If you compare Google Drive vs. Google Workspace, you can see that the latter platform does not have a free subscription — only a 14-day trial is available. After that, you can use the following subscription plans:

  • Business Starter — $6 per user per month, 100 GB of storage;
  • Business Standard — $12, 2 TB, video conference recording, extended support;
  • Business Plus — $18, 5 TB, enterprise-level security system. 

Please note that Workspace subscriptions are valid for at least a year. Additionally, access to Gemini AI costs $20 per month in the standard version and $30 in the enterprise version with support for 15 languages. Gemini is a generative AI that can be compared to the most famous neural network, GPT 4o, in terms of its features. It can create large volumes of text, realistic images, spreadsheets, and even program code snippets. Gemini has real-time access to the Internet and can process files of certain formats, including DOCX, XLSX, TXT, and PDF.

Most Workspace features will be available to you as part of your Drive subscription. The key difference between the integrated platform is the ability to create a single business account with many user accounts. This allows the manager to monitor the productivity of each employee and track their recent actions. 

If these offers don't fit within your budget, you can consider Google Drive alternatives, which we discussed in a separate article.

Feature Comparison

Google Workspace comes out on top in this regard. Almost all services on this platform have an extended set of features — more video conferencing participants, increased security, intelligent email search, etc. In the top plans, you get such exclusive features as:

  • meeting attendance tracking;
  • noise reduction in voice and video chats;
  • intelligent data search for legal processes (eDiscovery);
  • S/MIME data encryption that exceeds industry standards;
  • access to Google Vault, a "vault within a vault" available only to company executives. 

As for everyday workflows, both services have everything you need to work with digital assets. They allow you to share files and folders. However, only a Workspace subscription allows you to create shared drives that belong to the entire team rather than a single user. They also make it easier to set up access rights, defining a role for each project participant. 

Moreover, Google Workspace offers more than 3,000 integrations with other web services and applications. You can build your digital ecosystem by including programs like Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk AutoCAD, Zapier, HubSpot, and others. In doing so, you can highly automate your workflows, increasing productivity and reducing resource consumption. Google Drive, as an important part of Workspace, supports most of these integrations, but the list will be narrower due to limited functionality. 

Security Features

Google One, a personal subscription to Drive, offers basic security features for your account. First and foremost, it's AES256 encryption of data in storage and email, which provides resistance to hacking and data interception. In addition, you can activate two-factor authentication to receive additional access codes to your smartphone or another email address. 

When comparing Google Drive vs. Workspace security, the latter platform is ahead. Even its basic subscriptions have phishing and malware protection features, as well as advanced tools for managing access rights to digital assets. In the top plans, you get data management tools on each synchronized device, including control over its distribution and forced deletion. So, you can keep your work materials confidential even if your device is lost or stolen. 

Choosing between Google Drive and Google Workspace

Google Drive is the best productivity service for personal use. It provides up to 2 TB of cloud storage and has a convenient system for distributing digital assets. The service has a large number of integrations with other Google applications and external software platforms. Google Drive is also suitable for freelancers and independent professionals working on small projects with up to 10-25 participants. 

Google Workspace is an ideal solution for businesses of all scales, from small startups with up to 10 employees to corporations with tens of thousands of employees. The platform has a much wider range of features that allow you to establish communications, keep sensitive information confidential, share files with more users, and control data usage even on separate devices. 

How to Level up Google Drive with Pics.io Digital Asset Management (DAM) System

Digital asset management systems are designed to organize lots of materials and workflows. By choosing Pics.io, you can start using Google Drive digital asset management system without having to spendtime and effort migrating to another platform.


Google Drive is an integral part of the Workspace productivity platform. However, you can use the cloud storage separately, which is cheaper and easier. It would be ideal for individual users. 

Meanwhile, Google Workspace is a better option for businesses. With a professional account, you can monitor the productivity of each user and keep track of information sharing. It also gives you access to useful additional features like video conferencing and an interactive notebook. 

Did you enjoy this article? Give Pics.io a try — or book a demo with us, and we'll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Pics.io Team
Welcome to Pics.io blog, where you'll get useful tips, resources & best practices on how digital asset management can help your business to manage & distribute digital content on top of cloud storage.