Billy Attar
Billy Attar
Table of contents:

Table of contents

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

March 15, 2024

Google Drive vs. Confluence: Two Collaboration Platforms Compared

In this post, I’m going to personally review two popular collaboration and workspace platforms: Google Drive (including Google Docs and other Google Workspace tools) and Confluence.

In this post, I’m going to personally review two popular collaboration and workspace platforms: Google Drive (including Google Docs and other Google Workspace tools) and Confluence.

I took a deep dive into both platforms to compare the features and best fit use cases for each.

Within each platform I evaluated:

  • Document creation tools
  • File storage
  • Workspace & project management
  • Team collaboration
  • Integrations
  • Cost/value

So make sure to read this review until the end. That way you can make the best decision for you.

Does Google have a Confluence alternative?

Let’s quickly overview what each platform does before I get into the review itself.

Google Drive, or really, Google Workspace is the most popular workspace platform in the world. It tries to provide you with everything you need to conduct your day-to-day work. Google Workspace includes document creation with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Draw. You can store and share files through Google Drive, communicate through Gmail and Google Meet and schedule your day with Google Calendar. All of this is one package.

Confluence is more focused on collaborative work and less on being your one-stop-shop for everything during your workday. It also includes document creation, file storage and some communication tools along with project templates and organization tools.

The platforms can replace one another, but to get the maximum benefits from them, you can even combine them.

Combine Google Drive and Confluence

Before we jump into the feature head-head comparison between Google Workspace and Confluence, I’ll show you how you actually combine the two platforms with Neatly.

Neatly is a cross-platform knowledge management platform that allows you to use your favorite tools, like Google Docs and Confluence, while organizing and sharing files and libraries in one place.

Here’s a quick example of how to combine Google Drive and Confluence before I move on to the head-to-head comparison.

How to combine Google Docs and Confluence in one workspace

Say you’re managing a project that involves your marketing team which uses Google Docs, your R&D team which uses Confluence and a freelancer who needs to use both.

First, go to Neatly and create a project workspace and give it a name, like “Product Launch.”

Next, your marketing team can upload files from their Google Drive or create a new Google Doc (or Slide or Sheet) from directly within Neatly.

Then your R&D team can add links to the Confluence pages, whiteboards and spaces.

Now you have Google Drive and Confluence in one place

Now, you can invite the freelancer to the Neatly project, choosing either viewer or editor permissions. As a result, your marketing and R&D teams as well as your freelancer all have one shared space to view and share files and links.

You can sign up to Neatly for free here.

Head-To-Head: What Is the Difference Between Google Suite and Confluence?

Who has the better document creation tools?

Let’s kick things off with the feature that people are most interested in - document creation.

Google has three main types of documents, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. All are stored online with access permissioning, revision tracking, commenting and good sharing features. 

Confluence offers Pages, which are very similar to Google Docs. It also includes Whiteboards for brainstorming.

Bottom line: Google has a more robust document creation offering. Spreadsheets and slides are generally more useful than whiteboards and Google Draw can be used as a low-end replacement for Confluence Whiteboards or simply pay to use Google’s whiteboard product, Jamboard

How do the file storage features compare?

Google Drive is well known for its file storage. Its file upload and sharing are very comfortable, though the folder system becomes a mess for everyone at some point. Its paid plan allows you to store 2TB of files per user.

Confluence also allows you to upload and share files using its own cloud storage. The paid Confluence plan includes 250GB of storage per user.

Bottom line: File storage and sharing is a very basic feature at this point. Google Drive has the advantage since it offers more storage space and it comes with all of the other basic workday tools in Google Workspace such as Gmail, Google Meet, Docs and Sheets.

Which platform better organizes files and projects?

Now we’re finally getting to a part of the comparison where Confluence holds the advantage.

Google Workspace doesn’t really offer any type of good file organization and no project management features (see how we manage projects using Google Drive). 

Confluence, on the other hand, focuses a lot on organization. Confluence’s organization feature is called Spaces. You can think of a Space as a folder and in each folder/Space, you would have relevant documents, like Confluence Pages.

Bottom line: Both Google Drive and Confluence Spaces can become messy and hard to navigate after a while. Confluence still wins this feature head-to-head because they make an effort beyond the outdated folder system to organize your work.

Does Confluence have better team collaboration features?

Collaboration is a key feature of any online workspace. Both Confluence and Google Workspace do a good job of including collaboration and communication features within their respective platforms.

Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Draw all allow for commenting, assigning and sharing. Google Workspace also includes Google Meet for video conferencing and Gmail for email.

Confluence does pretty much the same but lacks the video conferencing feature. Confluence also includes a start page for each user that can include links to latest projects, notifications and company news.

Bottom line: It’s a tie here. Both offer the standard features needed for collaborating. If you’re comparing the entire Google Workplace suite versus Confluence, then Google wins due to it including email and video conferencing.

How does the pricing work for Google Workspace vs Confluence?

Both platforms are relatively affordable. As of March 2024, Google Drive has a free plan with 15GB of storage per user, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Draw, Gmail and Meet. For $12/month per user, you can upgrade to 2TB storage per user and unlock some additional features for the Google Drive tools. For $18 per user, you can upgrade to 5TB of storage.

Confluence has a free plan as well for up to 10 users, 2GB file storage, unlimited spaces and pages. Paid plans go from $6 - $11.50 per user with more storage, users, permissions and AI features.

Bottom line: Prices are pretty close to each other. With Google having a free and $12 plan and Confluence having free and $11.50 plans. Pricing is not a tiebreaker when comparing the two platforms.

So which is best for you - Google Drive or Confluence or both?

Overall, Google Drive offers enough tools to replace Confluence but Confluence cannot replace Google Drive’s complete suite of features (Google Drive, Gmail, Calendar, Meet). So if you can only choose one, Google Drive is the way to go.

On the other hand, if organization and team collaboration are most important for you (or if you use non-Google products for email and calendar), then Confluence has the right feature set.

If you need to work across teams and platforms, then Neatly is the only platform that can let each team work with the platforms they prefer while aggregating all of the files, documents and links in one place for easy collaboration.

Billy Attar
Billy Attar
Hey there. I'm Neatly's founder, a 4 time first marketing hire, a hack-a-solution enthusiast & a Turkish coffee snob.