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Is Google Drive end-to-end encrypted?

Over a billion people use Google Drive. Is Google Drive secure, encrypted, and end-to-end encrypted?
Google Drive logo with red security warning badge.
Google Drive now stores over two trillion files for over a billion people and a million distinct organizations. Very few - if any - other cloud storage products can boast this level of active usage. For many organizations, Google Drive has become a critical utility for getting work done, collaborating with other organizations, and creating a permanent record of past work and communications.

Google Drive and other cloud services

Google Drive is a cloud storage and file management service developed by Google. It allows users to store and sync files online and across devices. Today, Google Drive, which is one product in the enterprise-focused Google Workspace product, offers 15 GB of free storage space with a Google account. Users can purchase additional storage space through a monthly subscription.Google Drive also provides access to additional Google products, including Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, which are productivity applications that allow users to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online. Google Drive is available on the web, Android, and iOS devices. Users can access their files from any device with an internet connection. Google Drive offers an offline mode for users to access their files without an internet connection. It also provides a platform for third-party developers to build applications that integrate with Drive.Google Drive was launched on April 24, 2012, with 5 GB of free storage for all users. In May 2013, Google announced that the service had 190 million monthly active users. As of October 2014, Drive had over 1 billion active users.Organizations use Google Drive to store and share files internally. This allows employees to access files from anywhere, including from their personal devices. Google Drive also makes it easy to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with coworkers.Individuals use Google Drive to store personal files and access them from anywhere. This includes photos, videos, music, and other types of files. Google Drive also provides a way to backup files from a user's computer.

Comparing encryption and end-to-end encryption

The two main types of cloud storage encryption are end-to-end encryption and symmetric encryption. End-to-end encryption is a significantly more secure and private form of encryption because it ensures that only the sender and the intended recipient can read users’ files, and not the cloud storage service. Symmetric encryption, on the other hand, does not provide this guarantee. As a result, files, messages, or content can be read by anyone who has access to this encryption key, which includes the cloud provider. On Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and similar products, this allows any company employee (such as a Google employee), law enforcement, or other parties to access the information stored in your account.End-to-end encryption - sometimes known as client-side encryption - is a more secure form of encryption because it uses a unique key that is only known to the user, and never to the service provider. Symmetric encryption, on the other hand, uses keys known to the service provider (Google), meaning that the company has access to plaintext data. End-to-end encryption yields an additional protection against hackers, where if a service provider (such as Google or Dropbox) were compromised, no user data would be exposed.End-to-end encryption is a more secure form of encryption because it ensures that data is encrypted on users devices and never known to the corporate service provider. This is because the key is only known to the sender and the recipient. Symmetric encryption, on the other hand, does not provide this guarantee, and data can be read by anyone who has access to the encryption key. End-to-end encryption has become a standard in messaging and is now widely used in Signal, WhatsApp, iMessage, and more of the most popular messaging platforms.

End-to-end encrypted providers to try

Skiff: Skiff is a privacy-first, end-to-end encrypted workspace with 10 GB of free storage for file storage, upload, and sharing. The company offers an end-to-end encrypted mail product (Skiff Mail), which acts as a complete Gmail replacement for users. Skiff offers apps for iOS, Android, Mac, and more for synchronizing files and documents across devices. Every file, folder, and note added to Skiff is completely end-to-end encrypted, keeping all documents, user data, and sensitive data completely private to users and never accessible to Skiff. Skiff also offers two-factor authentication and password protected files.Tresorit: Tresorit is a cloud-based file security service that offers users end-to-end encryption to protect their data. Tresorit is one of the few services that offer zero-knowledge encryption, which means that even the company itself cannot access users' data. This makes Tresorit more private than Google Drive for those who are concerned about privacy and security. Tresorit is also easy to use and has a user-friendly interface. Overall, Tresorit is an easy to use file security service that serves as a privacy-first, end-to-end encrypted replacement for Google is a cloud-based storage service that offers users the ability to synchronize their files across multiple devices. The service offers a variety of features, including the ability to share files with others, access files from anywhere, and the ability to keep files synchronized across Android, iOS, iPhone, tablets, Windows, and other platforms. The service also offers a variety of security features, including the ability to encrypt files and the ability to set up a password-protected account.For more, check out our longer blog post comparing all cloud storage providers, including all of the most popular end-to-end encrypted cloud storage providers.


Cloud storage holds critical personal and professional information, making data security a paramount concern. Given this, for anyone thinking about data privacy, Google Drive’s encryption may not yield a sufficient level of protection as data is not private only to users. Above, we outlined some end-to-end encrypted services that eliminate the vulnerabilities of non end-to-end encrypted providers, keeping user data safe and private.

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