Launching in stable for the web and in beta for Android
Google Drive is probably the de facto standard app many Android and Google account users rely on for cloud storage. With reports of Google wrongly locking out people from their accounts and the company making most of its money based on personalized ads, you might want to consider switching to a more privacy-minded service, though. That’s where open-source alternative Proton Drive wants to come in, the latest service launched by privacy company Proton, best known for Proton VPN and Proton Mail.
Proton Drive has been available in beta since 2020, and it amassed almost half a million testers in that timeframe, with upload volume going up tenfold in the last quarter. The service is part of Proton’s suite of apps, which includes Proton Mail, Proton VPN, and Proton Calendar—in essence, the company wants to build a privacy-centric, open-source alternative to core Google services.
Proton is a company based in Switzerland, which has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world. All the data you store to Proton Drive and other Proton services is end-to-end-encrypted with cryptographic signatures on all files and folders. The company also makes its services open source, allowing anyone to check how well its privacy protections actually work.
In addition to launching the Proton Drive web app in stable, the company is also bringing a native app to Android in beta. As polished as the web app already feels today, the company has not released a desktop syncing application yet. Proton also doesn’t offer any built-in editing tools for Office documents or images, so you will find yourself uploading and downloading files repeatedly. It’s likely that the company has features like this planned for the future, but right now, you will need to work around some trade-offs to get the privacy benefits of Proton.
Proton Drive and the rest of Proton’s suite is available for free in a basic version with 1GB of total storage across Mail and Calendar. There are different tiers available depending on your needs, with a Drive Plus version for $4 a month with 200GB of storage and a $10 Proton Unlimited plan with 500GB of storage and more goodies for the other Proton apps. Both of these plans are paid annually, although you can opt for a monthly subscription at $5 and $12, respectively, if you prefer.
The stable release of Drive comes only a few months after ProtonMail’s big rebranding to just Proton, bringing all of its services under a single roof. The new name makes it clearer that the company offers more than just an email service, and shows its ambitions to grow beyond just emails.