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What is Google One and is it worth it?

Google's cloud storage has a tier for everyone. From $2/month up to Premium plans packing the AI smarts of Gemini Advanced, we compare all your options.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Google One
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

What is Google One?

Google One is a subscription service that gives your Google account access to extra storage and features unavailable for free Gmail, Drive, and Photos users. 

Also: The top cloud storage services you can buy to protect your files

These features include increased cloud storage spread across Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos; a VPN for multiple devices; dark web monitoring; access to Google Photos editing features, like Magic Eraser; and, in some plans, 10% back in the Google Store, access to premium Google Workspace features, and access to AI offerings.

Google One is available on web and on mobile for both Android and iOS. 

How much does Google One cost?

Google One has different monthly plans ranging from $2 to $20. Basic, Standard, and Premium subscribers can opt for monthly or annual payments, the latter of which offers a 16% discount. 

The Google One AI Premium plan is only available with monthly billing and will set you back $20 a month, but you can sign up now and take advantage of a free two-month trial, a limited-time offer from Google.

Google is currently offering discounted pricing for the Basic, Standard, and Premium plans as well, at $0.49, $0.75, and $2.49 a month for the first three months, respectively.

What are the different Google One plans?

Google One has different plans: a Basic plan with 100 GB of cloud storage and a Premium and a Premium AI plan with 2 TB of storage each. The four Google One plans offer different features, with the AI Premium plan giving users access to all the features plus AI tools. 
Here's how they differ:

SpecificsNo planBasicStandardPremiumAI Premium
Cloud storage15 GB100 GB200 GB2 TB2 TB
Share with up to 5 others-
Google Photos editing features-
VPN for multiple devices-
Dark web monitoring-
Google experts-
10% back in Google Store--3%
Google Workspace premium features---
Gemini Advanced----
Gemini in Gmail, Docs, Slides, Meet*----

*These features will be available soon.

Why is Google One so popular?

As Google rebranded its AI chatbot from Bard to Gemini, it also announced a new Gemini Advanced paid subscription for users who want to access the company's most powerful AI model. 

Google combined the new AI Premium plan with an introductory offer and a two-month free trial, and the company recently announced it now has 100 million subscribers to its Google One service.

Google One homepage on Windows PC
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

What is the Google One AI Premium?

A Google One AI Premium subscription gives you access to Gemini Advanced, which is Google's paid AI chatbot service, all the benefits included in the Premium Plan, 2TB of cloud storage through Drive, and Gemini in Gmail, Docs, and more – this last feature is coming soon to AI Premium. 

What is Gemini Advanced?

Gemini, formerly known as Google Bard, is Google's AI chatbot, now named after the large language model (LLM) that powers it. Think of a Gemini Advanced subscription, included in the Google One AI Premium plan, as a ChatGPT Plus subscription.

Also: How to subscribe to ChatGPT Plus (and why you should)

Gemini Advanced gives subscribers access to Google's most capable AI model, Gemini Ultra 1.0, which can deliver more accurate answers than Gemini (formerly Bard) with fewer hallucinations. Google claims this multimodal model is more capable of reasoning and following instructions and can understand, explain, and generate code in many programming languages.

What is the best Google One plan?

The best Google One plan is a highly subjective choice. That being said, I'd choose the Google One AI Premium plan, particularly because its introductory offer of two months free is appealing. 

For a user looking to increase their storage to back up their phone's camera roll, I'd recommend the Google One Premium plan. The Google One Basic plan is perfect for someone looking to leverage Google's photo editing features, VPN, and dark web monitoring without the need for more than 100 GB of storage. 

The Standard plan is a great way to upgrade a Basic plan subscriber's cloud storage, doubling it to 200 GB while only increasing the price to $2.99 monthly.

What photo editing features are included with Google One?

All Google One subscription tiers include extra cloud storage, access to a VPN for multiple devices, dark web monitoring in case your personal information is leaked, and more Google Photos editing features. 

Also: How to use Canva AI to turn any photo into a professional headshot

These photo editing features include the Google Pixel's famous Magic Eraser, which lets you easily remove people or objects in photos, HDR, Portrait Blur, Color Pop, Portrait Light, Styles; and Sky suggestions, which lets you adjust the color and contrast of the sky to make it more vibrant.

How can Google One AI Premium help with Gmail and Docs?

Google's AI features surpass Gemini (formerly Bard) and Google Lens. Google One AI Premium users will be able to use "Help Me Write " in Gmail and Docs, which uses generative AI to create text for letters, resumes, invitations, and more. 

AI Premium subscribers can also access generative AI in Slides, where users can create relevant images for presentations with text prompts. Finally, AI will also be available in Meet, where users can enhance their video quality by intelligently reducing noise and fixing the lighting automatically.

Though these features are described by Google as "coming soon" to AI Premium subscribers, many are available to those signed up for Google Labs. 

Is Google One the same as OneDrive?

Google One and Microsoft OneDrive are different cloud storage services with their own subscriptions and features. Aside from being separate storage services from different companies, a Google One subscription, depending on the plan you choose, can give you access to Google AI features, VPN service, dark web monitoring, and more. 

Also: Microsoft overhauls OneDrive with new design, easier file views, and AI smarts

OneDrive is Microsoft's cloud storage service, and is included with the Microsoft 365 subscription.

What are Google Workspace premium features?

Available on Google One Premium and AI Premium only, Google offers extra Workspace perks for users, including longer video calls on Meet, with access to call recording and noise cancellation and live streaming Meet video calls on YouTube so others can watch without joining. 

Premium users can also create multiple booking pages for different types of appointments on Calendar, complete with automatic email reminders, and connect multiple calendars.

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