Google One Review (2022): Is This Backup Solution Any Good?

Laptop with a score bar on top of it showing 6.5 out of 10 and a magnifier next to it

If you’re one of the billion Google Drive users worldwide, you might be considering upgrading to Google One for extended cloud storage. Google One is essentially an extension of Google Drive. It offers the same basics, but with expanded storage space and benefits, including Google Play discounts, automatic Android backup, and even access to the Google One VPN. Basically, if you want to have a cloud storage space bigger than 15GB, you’ll need a Google One subscription.

However, it’s more than just cloud storage. Google One has many extras for people who are avid Google users and want to get the best possible experience. They offer several paid plans, starting from 100 GB and going all the way up to 2 TB.

The extra paid Google Drive storage space and additional features are tempting, but are they worth the price tag? It all depends on your needs. Read our Google One review to see if it’s the right choice for you. We’ll dive into the usability, security, features, and price plans of Google’s online storage solution.


Google One Short Review: Easy to Use with Lots of Features

ProsCons
Uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithmHistory of Google privacy violations
Centralized access to Google productsNo free trial
Family plansNo possibility to assign specific storage
amounts to family members
Premium customer serviceNo option to call customer service directly
Expanded storage space:
100 GB – 30TB
Regularly updated benefits
Automated phone backups
Google Store Credit for purchases*
VPN for Android phone*

*Only available on certain plans

If you want extended cloud storage, Google One can be a decent option, although it lacks in terms of privacy and customer support. After extensively trying out the 200 GB plan for ourselves, we give the service a 6.5 out of 10.

This review focuses on four categories: security, ease of use, customer service, and features. Each category is ranked on a scale of 1 to 10. Here are our scores for Google One:

Table showing Scores for Google One Review

Google One is a neat extension of Google Drive that gives you huge amounts of cloud storage starting at $1.99 a month. While providing storage space is the service’s primary function, subscribers get much more out of the service. For starters, Google One centralizes all of your data in one place and offers automated phone backups as well as a VPN on some subscriptions.

Google One has the major advantage that it’s easy to work with. If you’ve used Google Drive before, you’ll already be familiar with the interface and many of the options. Everything works as it should, and backing up your files and documents happens quickly and accurately.

One major downside to Google One, besides Google’s privacy issues, is the lack of a free trial. It’s true that Google Drive already offers free storage, which could be seen as a free trial of the service, but there’s no way to access the Google One VPN or any of the other benefits without putting some money down.

Get Google One

For more details, read our full review down below.


Security: How Safe is Google One?

Score showing 5 out of 10 on the scale

Google claims that its top priority is to keep its users’ data safe. In terms of security and encryption, Google does a decent job, as we’ll dive into in a minute. However, the company’s history of privacy violations casts doubt on its trustworthiness when it comes to the way they deal with customer data.

Privacy violations by Google

Although there are no recorded incidents of Google specifically using Google One to invade the privacy of its users, the company has had a number of security incidents in its past. In 2018, Google let third-party app developers read thousands of Gmail users’ emails for the development of the Smart Reply feature in Gmail. It wasn’t just the AI that read the emails, but human programmers as well.

The developer no longer samples Google users’ emails for development purposes, but there’s no guarantee Google won’t disclose confidential user data again — especially since this is just one of many privacy breaches at Google.

With the huge amount of information Google stores about its users across all of its platforms, they hold a lot of power. They use this to show personalized ads, predict your moves, and affect your choices. By saving all your online documents through their service as well, you might be giving them even more ammunition.

Security and encryption

Google states that it uses several layers of encryption to protect customer data on the cloud, specifically the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm. All data stored on the cloud storage platform is encrypted with AES-256 (by default) and for a few pre-2015 documents, AES-128.

Additionally, Google uses 2048 bits RSA encryption keys to protect against cryptanalytic advances. Below is an overview of how Google’s encryption process works:

Infographic showing Google One encryption at the storage system layer, horizontal.

With that said, your files are safe from external threats with Google One, but the company’s history makes us believe that the main danger lies with Google itself.


Ease of Use: Is Google One User-Friendly?

Score scale 9/10

In this section, we will look at all of the user-friendliness of Google One. This includes the installation process and software. Below are our main conclusions regarding the usability of Google One:

  • The Google One website is clear and helpful.
  • It is easy to purchase and install Google One.
  • Google One works on Windows, macOS, iOs, and Android devices.
  • The Google One app is intuitive and easy to navigate.
  • There are multiple different subscriptions with additional storage and benefits.

Google One’s website and installation process

As we’ve grown used to when it comes to Google, Google One’s website is incredibly user-friendly. It has a very calm and neat appearance. You can find information about different subscriptions, support, and the Google VPN right on their website.

When you’re logged in on your Google account, you can directly sign up for Google One through Google’s website. Google One works on almost all devices, as long as they’re running Windows, macOS, iOS, or Android.

Desktop users can just access the Google One app through their web browser or can download the Drive for Desktop app with a few clicks. From that point on, your storage space is immediately increased and you can make use of it right away. It really is that simple.

If you’d like to download the Google One app on your smartphone or tablet through the Apple Store, follow these steps:

  1. Open the App Store on your iPhone and search for Google One.
  2. Screenshot of Google One home screen
  3. Download the application on your device.
  4. Screenshot of Google One App, three line menu highlighted
  5. Select the membership that’s right for you and check out.
  6. Screenshot of Google One Membership plans

For in-depth instructions, read our further instructions on how to back up your data with Google One.

Google One usability

The Google One mobile app is snappy and intuitive. It allows you to upgrade your subscription, manage backups, or set the frequency of backups. The app also lets you clean up your Google account and remove duplicate or redundant files, access FAQs, or switch your membership plan.

There’s really not a lot going on here, since it’s simply designed to let you manage storage, review any available benefits in your region, and upgrade your plan.

Google One memberships and prices

Google One has multiple membership plans divided into two tiers. The first tier of plans is available to all Google Drive users, while the second can only be purchased as an upgrade of an existing Google One subscription. The latter is especially interesting for businesses.

Each Google One plan comes with a variety of increasing membership benefits and storage as you move from Basic to Standard and up to Premium. The following table lists the membership prices including the benefits currently available for the first tier of plans. The free Google Drive option is also included for easy comparison.

Please note that Google regularly adds new benefits for subscribers, so you should confirm at the time of purchase.

FeatureGoogle DriveGoogle One BasicGoogle One StandardGoogle One Premium
PriceFree$1.99/month$2.99/month$9.99/month
Storage15 GB100 GB200 GB2 TB
Access to Google Experts
Option to add your family
Extra member benefits
3% back in-store credits on the Google Store
VPN for Android phone

Google One Pricing

Upgrade to Google One Now

If you’re planning on getting a Google One subscription, you can pay by credit card, debit card, or PayPal.

Google One expanded plans (for businesses)

The plans in the second tier offer even more storage: 5TB, 10TB, 20TB, or 30TB. These expanded plans are only available to those who have already purchased a Basic, Standard, or Premium plan.

These subscriptions contain the same benefits as the 2TB (Premium) plan and only differ in storage size. Due to these immense allotments of storage, the expanded plans are mainly used for business purposes rather than personal use.

The second tier of (business) subscription plans can be found below:

Google One Pricing Terrabyte Plans

  • 5 TB: $24.99/month
  • 10 TB: $49.99/month
  • 20 TB: $99.99/month
  • 30 TB: $149.99/month

As you can see, these subscriptions only differ in the amount of space they offer, with each 5 TB extra costing an extra $24.99 a month.

Does Google One have a free trial or money-back guarantee?

Since Google Drive is a free 15GB cloud storage service, Google does not offer an official free trial for Google One. Additionally, there is no money-back guarantee for the service. This makes it extra important to determine whether you truly need the extra storage space before you purchase a subscription.


Customer Service: Is Google One’s Support Helpful?

Score showing 5 out of 10 on the scale

Google One subscribers have access to two types of customer support: Google Experts and Pro Sessions. Google Experts can be contacted via email, phone, or a live chatroom. Through Pro Sessions, users can set up a video call with a Google representative to get advice on how to enhance their account’s security and privacy. Our experiences with Google’s support resulted in the following conclusions:

  • Not all Google Experts are equally knowledgeable, and their helpfulness seems to come down to luck.
  • The Google One Pro sessions aren’t available for all users and are only held for previously determined topics.

Google Experts

We contacted Google Experts both through phone and via chat, and had very diverging experiences. The phone call made us feel like we weren’t talking to an actually knowledgeable Google Expert, whereas the live chat was more helpful. In both cases, Google One’s customer support service was inconveniently bureaucratic.

Google Experts phone call experience

To contact customer service via phone,we had to fill out a form with our name, email address, phone number, and our questions.

Screenshot of a Google One Help window

During the call, a Google representative went through our list of questions one by one. We were put on hold multiple times while the representative went to retrieve information for us, including an instance when we were on hold for over ten minutes. We walked away from the conversation with some useful information but didn’t get all of our questions answered. Afterward, the representative emailed us a few pages from Google’s knowledge base for further reference, but they still did not have the information we needed.

We were pleased to be able to speak with an actual human being instead of having to wander through mazes of automated phone menus, but we didn’t feel that the phone call had been all that helpful.

Google Exports support via chat

The Google chat option is available 24/7 for Google One members. Simply head to “Support” and select “Chat.” Select the product you need help with, then choose an issue topic. Finally, provide a brief description of the issue you’re facing to connect with a support representative.

Screenshot of Google One, Get help with Google expert, Support chat

During our test, the chat was incredibly quick. It only took a couple of minutes for us to connect with an agent, and they were very helpful in providing us with the information we needed. Considering our phone call experience, however, we feel this was more a matter of luck.

It’s important to note that Google records your account and system information when you connect via chat to improve “support quality and training” and “technical services.”

Google One Pro sessions

Some Google One users also get the option of scheduling personal online Pro sessions with an expert. Pro sessions are designed to help members understand how different Google products work. For instance, if you purchase a new Google Pixel phone, you can schedule a Pro session to discuss different features with an expert.

Pro sessions are available for Google One members who:

  • Reside in Canada, the USA, or the UK
  • Use the 2 TB plan or above
  • Have their Google One app set to English at launch

Google also states that the Pro sessions work on a first-come, first-serve basis, with limited seats available. You can schedule a Pro session via your browser, or directly from the Google One app. However, when we tried to schedule one, there were “no topics available.”

Screenshot of Google One, Pro session window

The Pro sessions are held over Google Meet (either via your browser or the Meet app), and you can join one based on topics that Google makes available. The fact that Google decides the topic means that it’s not a viable support option for people who want support for specific things. Pro sessions are generally designed to give attendees a rundown of different features in a more personalized setting. For specific assistance, you can always call, chat, or email Google support.


Google One’s Features and Options

Score scale 7/10

Google One subscriptions come with many different features and options:

  • Manual and automated phone backups
  • Real-time document collaboration
  • Centralized access to Google Products
  • Google One Family Plan
  • Google Experts
  • Extra member benefits
  • Cashback for Play Store purchases (Standard and Premium plans)
  • Google One VPN (Premium plan)

Screenshot of a Google One members benefits page
We’ll discuss all of these extras in detail below.

Backup management

One of the best things about Google One is that it gives you greater control over how you manage your data on the platform. Almost everyone has a Gmail account these days, and if you use Google Photos as well, One makes it easy for you to manage your data. It shows you personal estimates on how long your storage will take to fill up based on backups and usage, and you can also review and delete apps, screenshots, blurry photos, or larger images. One also adds a dedicated option to clean up Gmail and Drive.

Screenshot of Google One VPN Manage storage window

Manual and automated phone backups

All Google One subscription plans allow users to automatically back up their phone data and manually back up their iOS device’s multimedia content, including Gmail, photos, videos, messages, and contacts.

Screenshot of a Google One Backup settings

With this option, you can make sure your phone data is saved in a secure place. The automated Android backups are especially useful, since you don’t need to do anything for your files and pictures to be saved once you’ve set it up.

The setup is incredibly easy: all you need is the Google One app and the instructions provided in this easy guide to activating phone backups on Google One. You can see when your devices were last backed up in the Google One app:

Screenshot of Google VPN automatic backup

You can also find out what was backed up and manage your backups by clicking on “View details.”

Screenshot of Google One VPN Backup details window

Real-time document collaboration

Google’s document editing service, Google Docs, is integrated into Google One to allow users to upload, share, edit, and comment on text documents in real-time. Although other users have access to the shared documents, the owner remains in full control of access and edit permissions for other users. Additionally, the document owner can set up access in a way that changes based on which documents need to be reviewed and approved before they are sent forward.

Especially in times when working from home has become so much more common, these kinds of services provide excellent solutions. Google Docs might not be unique to Google One, but the combined package is nice: you can directly collaborate with colleagues without having to worry that you’ll run out of storage space.

Centralized access to Google products

One of the biggest perks of the Google One app is that it gives you access to all your Google data in one place. Those who rely heavily on Google services for work and daily life benefit the most from the centralized structure of Google One. No matter what device they are on and where they are in the world, as long as they have an internet connection, they’ll be able to access their files from GmailGoogle Photos, and Google Drive in one centralized location.

Screenshot of Google One VPN Centralized access

Google One family plan

Every paid subscription plan includes the option to add up to six family members to a single shared subscription. Each member’s files are private and secured with permission controls that they can set themselves. The family plan is one of the best perks of Google One. Essentially, if you don’t have power users in your family, a single 200 GB plan can easily be used by up to six members.

Unfortunately, there is one drawback here: there is no way to allocate a specified amount of storage to any one user. Instead, the total amount of storage space available for the account is equally split between all members.

When we tried out the service ourselves, we opted to share access with two family members and found that it worked easily and exactly as intended. Keep in mind, however, that the shared space only kicks in for other family members once they go over their allocated Drive limit.

Screenshot of a Google One Members window, One family

The family plan comes with  several extra options:

  • Create family calendars, share Keep access, and customize the Google Assistant to connect with other family members.
  • Create a Family Link, which is essentially an account for your children. This way, you’ll always be in the loop when your kids start exploring mobile devices.
  • Share eligible games, movies, apps, books, and TV programs with family members via the Google Play Family Library. If you buy an eligible app, your family members can use it too. If you have the subscription Google Play Pass, you can share that with up to five members of your family as well.
  • Create a Nest family home, which gives your family access to all Google Nest features. This way, whenever you send a family broadcast, it’ll be sent directly to the whole group of devices (provided you’re using Nest devices).

Screenshot of Google One VPN Family sharing options

Google Experts

Google One provides subscribers access to “Google Experts,” which offers a higher level of customer support than Google’s free service support. Additionally, English-speaking Google One subscribers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada can schedule a one-on-one meeting with a Google expert through the service Pro Sessions. During these sessions, customers receive personalized advice on improving the security of their Google account.

You can read our personal experience with Google Experts by scrolling up to the section “Customer Service.”

Screenshot of a Google One Get help from Google experts page

Cash-back for Google Store purchases

Google One users who have chosen the Standard plan (or anything above that) receive cashback on Google Store purchases. Subscribers can earn cashback on purchases of phones, earphones, security cameras, and more. To obtain the discount, the purchase must be made under the account with the applicable Google One subscription.

Google One VPN

If you purchase the Google One 2TB plan or higher, Google will throw in the Google One VPN for Android to help secure your data even further. While this is not the most secure or fastest VPN on the market — and it’s only available on Android phones — it is a good step towards improving your internet security. Google does not offer their VPN as a stand-alone service at this time, meaning purchasing a 2TB or higher plan is required to access the Google VPN.

Screenshot of a Google One VPN mobile device interface

Would you like to see exactly how the Google One VPN works? You can check out our full review of Google One VPN right here.

Extra member benefits

Another benefit of the paid plans is that you get exclusive discounts on various goods and services. It should be noted that benefits vary per country and are always changing. For this reason, we encourage you to check the Google One website for the most up-to-date information. You can also reach out to a Google Expert with any questions you have.

To give an example of a possible benefit: Google One is offering additional photo editing features to its members right now. If you use the Google Photos app, you can easily customize photos in greater detail straight from the app.

Screenshot of Google One VPN Extra Google Photos editing features

Some other benefit examples include:

  • Google Store member rewards
  • Google Play credits
  • YouTube Premium discount
  • Hotel preferred pricing: discounts of up to 40% on hotels found in a Google search for “Hotels in (city).”
  • Google Stadia discounts

Screenshot of a Google One hotels deals page


Google One: Is it Worth the Cost?

Score scale 6.5/10

When we began our review, we expected that Google One wouldn’t be the most secure or most private cloud storage service since it is built by the same company with a history of privacy and security concerns. Google’s cloud storage service is middle-of-the-road at best. It offers a decent amount of features and is one the most user-friendly options available, but its security and support are lacking. Based on our in-depth review, Google One’s overall score is 6.5 out of 10.

If you’d like to give Google One a try, you can click the button below.

Upgrade to Google One Now

If you want the most secure cloud storage service available instead of Google One, we have you covered. Have a look at our top 5 of the most secure cloud options and our other reviews for alternatives.

Google One Review: Frequently Asked Questions

Google One is a relatively new service that’s constantly being updated with new features and benefits, so naturally, there are a lot of questions about it. Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions about Google One and its many features.

Google One is a cloud-based storage and backup service. There are multiple Google One plans that come with different storage capacities and benefits. Some of these benefits include premium customer support, discounts on Google Play purchases and hotels, a Google VPN, and other nice bonuses.

While Google Drive is free with every Google account, Google One is not free. It does offer storage plans as low as $1.99 per month. The payment plans offered by Google are:

  • 100GB: $1.99 per month, or $19.99 per year
  • 200GB: $2.99 per month, or $29.99 per year
  • 2TB: $9.99 per month, or $99.99 per year
  • 5TB: $24.99 per month, or $249.99 per year
  • 10TB: $49.99 per month
  • 20TB: $99.99 per month
  • 30TB: $149.99 per month

Google Drive is a free cloud storage service that comes with 15 free gigabytes of space. Google One is an expanded, paid version of Google Drive that offers more storage space and extra benefits with each pricing tier, including discounts, a VPN, premium customer support, family plans, and automatic Android backup. If you’d like to know more about Google One, you can check out this full review of the Google service.

Some of the biggest advantages of Google One are:

  • Ability to create a Family Group and add up to five members in addition to yourself
  • Centralization of all of your Google data, like Gmail, photos, and text documents
  • Automatic phone backups

For all of the advantages, check out the full Google One review.

Author
Security research coordinator
Kat is an IT security business consultant with experience in project management, process development, and leadership. She coordinates our team's research efforts in the field of cybersecurity, privacy, and censorship.
Author
Tech editor
With a background in finance and a keen interest in marketing, Naj has worked for several leading firms across the globe. He currently works as a cybersecurity analyst and senior editor at VPNOverview. He supports Arsenal FC and enjoys F1 racing.