Rather than a product per se, Google One is a subscription plan for a bundle of services, including cloud storage, from the online giant. All the other tech giants—Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft—now sell subscription packages for their various digital services, too, most of which also include online cloud storage. Google’s package is generous, adding photo effects to its photo editing software, support by phone or chat, discounts on Google products, and now a VPN service for Android and iOS devices. None of the individual components is exceptional. You can find better pricing for online storage, more powerful photo apps, and more capable VPNs as standalone products. But by conveniently bundling them all together, Google has come up with an appealing package.
How Much Does Google One Cost?
You can start out with Google One’s Basic plan for just $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year. That gets you 100GB of online storage that’s shared among your Google Drive, Google Photos, and Gmail services. You also get some handy photo tools in the Google Photos mobile app and support via phone and text chat from Google staff. Anyone can get 15GB of storage free with any Google account, but that doesn’t get you these Google One extras.
For a buck more per month, the $2.99-a-month (or $29.99 per year) Standard plan bumps storage up to 200GB and you get a 3% discount in the Google Store on Pixel phones, Next smart home devices, and other products. If you’re interested in the VPN service, you need the $9.99-per-month (or $99.99 per year) Premium plan, which brings 2TB of storage and increases your discount at the store to 10%.
Some extra benefits and discounts are included with a Google One account.
Higher price plans go all the way up to $149.99 per month for 30TB of storage. All plans can be shared among five family members and friends. You get a slight discount if you pay annually rather than monthly for a Basic, Standard, or Premium plan.
How Do Google One’s Prices Compare?
For comparison, a $9.99-a-month or $99-per-year Microsoft 365 account gets you 6TB of OneDrive storage—1TB each for six people. You also get the installable Office productivity applications, Teams, premium Office templates, Family Safety features, and support by phone and chat. A single user account is $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. Free users get just 5GB and use of the web versions of Microsoft Office.
Apple One, though it shares a One in its name, is less comparable with Google One because it focuses less on cloud storage (50GB with a $14.95-per-month account) and more on entertainment (Apple TV+, Music, and Arcade). Apple One is more expensive, too, and it only works with Apple’s hardware. Apple’s Premier plan adds Fitness+ and News+, increases the cloud storage to 2TB, lets you share the account with five people, and runs $29.95 per month.
For an Apple subscription without entertainment, iCloud Drive costs 99 cents per month for 50GB; $2.99 per month for 200GB; or $9.99 per month for 2TB (the last two are the same as Google One). At all levels, you get the quasi-VPN service Apple calls Private Relay, but it only works in Safari. Purchasers of Apple devices get a measly 5GB free.
Amazon Prime ($139 per year) is another online bundled service, with some overlap, though it doesn’t get you much cloud storage—except for photos, for which it gives you unlimited storage! You also get Prime Video and Amazon Music (the excellent Amazon Music Unlimited is a separate $7.99 per month). And of course, you can’t forget the free delivery for items bought from the online retailer.
For pure cloud storage and syncing, check out our Editors’ Choice service IDrive (5TB for $79.50 per year) or the highly-rated Dropbox (2TB for $9.99 per month).
What Do You Get With Google One?
In addition to the online cloud storage mentioned above, subscribers get to use a Google One app to manage all their account services (see the next section). You also get highly effective photo-editing tools in the Google Photos mobile apps. We discuss those and the VPN at length below. Time-limited benefits include three months of free YouTube Premium and Stadia Pro (though that game-streaming service’s fate is uncertain).
You may even find unexpected benefits. For example, during research for this review, we discovered a $5 credit in Google Play that came with our $1.99-a-month One subscription that we hadn’t realized existed because it’s not listed among the benefits on the main plan-comparison page. Finally, you get chat and phone support with every Google One account level.
Google One’s Mobile App
The Google One app lets you back up your mobile device, including contacts, calendar, and photos; on Android you can also back up apps. The Android backup space is taken out of your Google Drive allowance. The app shows you how much storage you’re using in Google Drive and for what, with suggestions of ways you can trim it down. (For more on that topic, read How to Free Up Space in Google Drive.) For example, the app suggests clearing out space taken up by deleted mail and other large items. You can also add family members with whom you want to share your account storage and features.
The Google One Support Experience
Support for Google One subscribers is available via phone and chat. You can initiate a session either on the web or in the mobile app. We tested the support service by requesting a callback and asking what security features our account provided. Our call came in at a mere 25 seconds after the request; a robot voice answered first, but we were connected with a live support person just ten seconds after that. This was despite the site’s warning, “Google One support services may be impacted due to the COVID-19 situation.”
When you request support, you have to specify a product and topic, and can optionally upload a screenshot of your issue. You also enter the phone number where you want to be called; more than a hundred country codes are supported.
The support rep we were connected to had a ready answer for our concerns about securing our Google account, offered help with setting up multi-factor authentication, and informed us about the availability of a physical security key we could purchase. We were pleased as punch by the experience. Afterward, you see a record of your conversation at the bottom of your Support page. We also tried chat support, which was excellent, too: our only beef is that the rep didn’t get the question we typed in the original request when starting the help session, so we had to type it again. At the end of every support session we tried, we were offered a satisfaction survey to fill out.