FossLook and Google Drive comparison

Google Drive and FossLook comparison


At first glance, the two products completely different: cloud service and client-server application. However, these products have something in common - team collaboration on documents. Let's compare these systems from this point of view. If you can't decide which collaboration software better suits your needs, we've got you covered with our in-depth comparison.

For starters, let's look at the features similar to both products.

Data storage

Both products work with folders and documents, but the implementation of these functions is different.

Google Drive cloud storage

Google Drive allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other files. You can upload any files from your local computer to Google Drive. Google Drive can also open and convert files of popular office applications (eg, Microsoft Word, Excel).

Google Drive documents storage

Google Drive has some restrictions on the storage size: you can store 15 GB of data for free, files in native Google Docs format do not contribute to user quota. If you need more space, you have to migrate to the appropriate data plan. For documents, spreadsheets and presentations Google Drive has a number of limitations: a maximum of 1,024,000 characters or 50 MB - for a document, 2 million cells - for the table, 100MB - for presentation. The maximum size of files that can be uploaded without conversion to Google Docs, spreadsheets or presentations, can be 5Tb (for paid data plans). Also, if you use Gmail or Google+, photos over 2048x2048 pixels and videos longer than 15 minutes - it all adds up to your storage limit.

Google Drive interface has minimal customization capabilities.

Data storage in FossLook

FossLook data storage represented as application server and database running Microsoft SQL or MySQL. Thereafter, your data limit depends only on the size of the hard drive, where the database is located. Access to the database is possible via Windows desktop application (FossLook client), or by using a web browser (web client FossLook).

To work with the documents in FossLook you need to login to the server.

You can work with FossLook using Windows client or via web browser.

FossLook desktop workplace and web client

FossLook documents

FossLook documents unlike Google Drive represented as a set of attributes (fields) describing the document, including attachments, which are stored in FossLook "inside" of documents. Anyone can create a document, which has a set of predefined customizable fields. You can attach any number of files from your local drive to the document.

Document view in FossLook

You can manually create your own set of fields in documents, customize the document interface, hide / show tabs:

Fields and tabs customization

You can not edit document attachments online, it is only possible offline on your local machine, with the corresponding software installed.

Establishing document relations

Another feature of FossLook that is not available in Google Drive is the ability to establish relations between documents. You can set several relation types, such as: "one document is the child to another", "one document refers to another" or "one document uses the field values of another document as a reference".

Links to other documents

Document search

In Google Drive, you can search for files by name, as well as the contents of the documents (full text search).

Search in Google Drive

FossLook provides much more powerful search by combining search terms with boolean operators. Full-text search is also supported (search by content of attachments).

Search in FossLook

Storage comparison

The following table compares document storage features of Google Drive and FossLook

Feature Google Drive FossLook
Online office applications support Yes No
Establishing links between the documents No Yes
UI customization Minimal Wide variety of interface settings
Internet and local network operation Internet only Yes
Storage limitations The amount of storage may be expanded via transition to paid packages Depends on the amount of hard drive space where your database is located
Security The information is stored on the Internet. Theoretically unsafe The information is stored on the database server. You can work in a local network or via Internet. Strong security.
Full text search Yes Yes (search by content of attachments)
Combining search terms with boolean operators No Yes

Granting access to documents

How to grant users with access to the document

Any file or folder in Google Drive can be shared with other users via the Internet. You can do this through a direct link or using the invitation, which you have to send via email.

It needs to be mentioned, that if the document was shared via link - it is published online and available to all users who may accidentally get it.

Google Drive allows you to publish a document on the Internet with the full access for all, even those who don't have a link to it. I.e. anyone can find it in the search engine.

Google Drive permissions

Shared document also can have different permissions: "View", "Comment", "Edit".

Google Drive user invitation

The user, who created the document in Google Drive, has the "Owner" permission.

The table below summarizes the different permission levels:

View Comment Edit Owner
Viewing files and folders + + + +
The ability to download files to your computer and sync them with other devices + + + +
Making copies + + + +
Commenting, making suggestions and corrections in files + + +
Documents, spreadsheets, presentations editing + +
Changing file permissions + +
Moving files between folders + +
Changing files versions + +
Removing files and folders +
Changing ownership of the files +

FossLook access rights

Each user can belong to several groups and be in a certain department of the organization. You can build a virtual structure of your organization and add users to it:

Access to documents and folders can be configured by the system administrator using Windows application - FossLook Administrator. You can share documents between users or user groups. Groups let you manage permissions for users in bulk so you don't have to individually assign permissions that need to be the same for many users.

FossLook permission levels, terminology and ways of working with them, are similar to those used in Windows:

FossLook permissions dialog

Permissions comparison

The table below summarizes the differences in permissions implementation of Google Drive and FossLook

Feature Google Drive FossLook
Centralized permission management No Yes
The ability to publish the document online with a certain permissions Yes No
Group policy support No Yes

Documents collaboration

How to organize document collaboration in Google Drive

Google Docs interface allows you to see who makes corrections in the document online. Also, it allows users to interact with each other using the chat window.

In Google Docs you can also add comments to the different fragments of the document if you have certain permissions.

Collaboration on documents that are not in their native format is only possible in offline mode. Information about who and when changed document can be seen in the version control dialog.

FossLook collaboration. Workflows

FossLook allows you to route a document to other users using workflows. A workflow can be created with the help of visual workflow designer. Each workflow point contains a task, executor and due date. You can configure each workflow with a certain logic of transition from one user to another.

Not only users can be participants of the workflow. You can route a document between departments and user groups. Thus, with the help FossLook you can arrange your own regulations for working with one or another type of document.

FossLook workflow

Unlike Google Drive in FossLook (on the "Workflows" tab) you can see the current status of the document, including when the user first opened it, time and date of the report, etc.

You can also keep track of document deadlines, for example, by creating appropriate filters in the folder where the document is stored. For example, you can configure filters for expired documents, and thus control the work of the employees in your organization.

Collaboration features comparison

The table below summarizes the differences in document collaboration features of Google Drive and FossLook

Feature Google Drive FossLook
Viewing document version history online Yes No
Online document commenting Yes No
Routing documents from one user to another No Yes
Tracking the results of the document execution No Yes

Document version control

Document version control in Google Drive

Version control dialog shows a list of all versions of the file, synchronization time, as well as the name of the person who edited it.

Google Drive version control

You can download or delete different versions of the file.

Document version control in FossLook

In FossLook document versions are not created automatically unlike Google Drive. First, you need to enable "version" function for the document. Then, users with corresponding permissions can create new versions of the given document.

You can create a version that has all field values and attachments copied from the previous version of the document.

FossLook version control

Version control comparison

The table below summarizes the differences in version control of Google Drive and FossLook

Feature Google Drive FossLook
Document versions support Yes Yes. Needs additional configuration
New versions creation Automatic Initiated by user


After reviewing all document collaboration features of Google Drive and FossLook, we can give you some recommendations on choosing the product that best suits your needs.

When to use Google Drive

  • If you are interested in a simple collaborative editing of any document (text or table), with a small team of users without special requirements for confidentiality.
  • When you need to quickly prepare and publish a document on the Internet.
  • If you want to use only free office applications.

When to use FossLook

  • If you need a secure document storage to work with confidential information.
  • If you need a flexible configuration of user access rights to documents using Group Policy.
  • Your documents are viewed not only as a specific file, but as a set of attributes (fields) that describe the document.
  • You need to search not only by name and content, but also by other attributes (for example, "creation date"), and you want to filter the documents by the values of their attributes.
  • If you are interested in a custom user interface that shows only the information you need about the documents and folders.
  • You want to automate workflows for a large number of users, using specific rules for processing documents.

To summarize, FossLook is best suited for a corporate environment, enterprise companies with strict security policies. If you need to quickly collaborate on a document online with the small team of people, Google Drive would be your best choice.

Related articles

© 2001-2024 29 IT DEVELOP LP. All rights reserved. | Suite 1223 111 West George Street, Glasgow, Scotland, G2 1QX | EULA | Contact Us