In this next post in the Google to Microsoft series, I will talk about my migration of Google Drive files to Microsoft SkyDrive, or whatever it will be called in the future.
Having decided to move both my online photo albums and my Dropbox files over to SkyDrive, it made sense to also migrate my Google Drive documents. These are documents that I want available anywhere: on my desktop pc, my tablet, my smartphone, and on any computer I have Internet access to, so I can work on them from no matter where on no matter what device. Some of these documents I want to share with certain people, so they can view and/or edit them.
This one is a bit trickier though, because there are some differences between the two services. Not in the way my documents are hosted and shared (they are more or less equal), but with regards to features and speed. I’ll try to list some things from the top of my head here:
- Speed. At the time of writing, Google is definitely #1. Loading documents and working on them is just snappier.
- Versioning. Google & Microsoft both offer a versioning system, but I feel that the way Google presents this in the interface is clearer and easier.
- Collaboration. I haven’t tested real-time collaboration on SkyDrive, but I know from experience Google does this really well, to the extent of showing where the other user’s cursor is. In any case, it’s not a deal-breaker for me, but versioning is.
- Online editing. This is two-fold, as Microsoft gives you the option to edit the document in the desktop version of the office program in question, like Excel 2013. This is a huge plus, as you get the speed, and every feature you can think of. It’s too bad then, that the Excel Web App doesn’t offer simple things like conditional formatting, while Google’s online editor does. But I’m convinced MS will implement this in the near future, and you can of course apply conditional formatting if you edit in the desktop version of Excel (the web app will render it correctly, but you won’t be able to change or create it). The Excel Web App also has a limitation on how it works on summing time units, as it is limited to 48 hours. That’s a shame, because I manage my work timesheets online.
- Compatibility. Both offer the option to save a document as pdf, and both can read all the common office formats.
- Integration. Surprisingly maybe, this one goes to Microsoft in my book. Mainly because you have one service that incorporates online photo albums, smartphone photo synchronization, private documents, file sharing, and notes. With Google, you’d have to keep switching between Google+ Photos, Google Drive and maybe a service like Evernote. It won’t feel uniform at all, as Google Drive doesn’t even look the same as Google+ (Photos). Google has some sort of note taking application in the form of Google Keep, but it doesn’t seem very advanced, even though it is somewhat integrated in Drive. And how will all of this be presented on your mobile device, be it smartphone or tablet ? Like I said before, the photo thing in itself was reason enough for me to switch.
- Drawing. Ah, nearly forgot this one. If you’re into creating maps, diagrams, drawings, sketches, etc. you might not want to switch just yet. Google has a relatively simple, but great drawing editor. I used it only twice to draw up a network topography, but it does its job brilliantly (simple and fast), while Microsoft doesn’t really have an alternative. On SkyDrive, you’ll have to resort to PowerPoint or WordArt, which while it will help get you to your design goal, is cumbersome to use.
- Presentations. I haven’t used either Google Drive Presentations or SkyDrive’s PowerPoint, so I’ll have to come up empty on this comparison.
All in all, I feel that Microsoft will (and will have to) add more features to its online Word and Excel Web App editors. I’m confident they will, as they basically only recently launched this (proper) version of SkyDrive, and they are already on-par with Google’s Drive. It’s the little things that will finish the job, along with a slight performance upgrade.
Although the above now is a proper A vs B article, I didn’t really want it to write it that way, but it might help some of you that are pondering the switch.
So anyway, I now wanted to move my files over from Drive to SkyDrive. That’s really easy, in fact. Google has an option that will export each and every file on your Drive to a corresponding Office format (be it MS Office or Open Office) and stuff it in a zip archive. I can tell you that this is pretty reliable, although you might want to check any spreadsheets that are somewhat complex, as sometimes the layout gets changed a little bit. Nothing catastrophic, fortunately, so you won’t have too much work. After you unzip all your documents, simply move them to your SkyDrive folder for upload, et voilà.
As an alternative, but I haven’t tried this out myself, you could in theory install both desktop clients, and copy your Google Drive files to your SkyDrive folder.
Read my other posts about my online services switch from Google to Microsoft:
Moving webmail from Gmail to Outlook.com
Moving address book from Google Contacts to Microsoft People
Moving photo albums from Picasaweb / Google+ Photos to SkyDrive
Moving file hosting service from Dropbox to SkyDrive
How Google is slowly losing me as a client to Microsoft
Switching search engines from Google to DuckDuckGo