OpenAsset Learning Hub

Google Drive vs DAM: What’s the Difference?

DAM or Google Drive, Which is Right for Your Business?

Should you invest in a DAM solution, or is Google Drive enough? This guide has everything you need to understand the differences between Google Drive and DAM, and determine which solution is right for your business. 

Digital Asset Management

Digital asset management (DAM) is the process by which organizations store, share, organize, find, and retrieve digital assets (videos, audio files, branding material, presentations, proposals, etc.) from their ever-growing library of content, rich media and digital materials.

In other words, companies utilize a DAM solution to store and share the thousands of digital assets they use everyday to grow their brand, empower their sales teams and create proposals that win more business

Google Drive

Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service that enables users to store files in the cloud, synchronize files across devices, and share files with ease. Completely free and cloud-based, Google Drive (GDrive) is primarily utilized by individuals and organizations in need of basic file storage and organization functionality.

With easy file sharing, convenient file synching and storage scalability, Google Drive is a terrific option for any user looking to create easily shareable links and manage a small to medium number of files. Google Drive is also a great choice for users who already utilize the G-Suite of tools and integrations like Gmail, Sheets and Calendar. 

DAM vs. Google Drive: Key Differences 

Though Google Drive does include basic DAM functionality, that is not the primary purpose for which it was developed. In other words, using Google Drive as your primary digital asset management system is like using a tennis racket to hit a baseball – it might work in theory, but there is a better tool for the job. 

The following sections explore the key differences between Google Drive and DAM, but also their similarities and how you can use both DAM and GDrive to your advantage. 


The use of Google Drive requires a Google Account, which comes with built-in security features designed to detect and block unauthorized access to stored files. Google also automatically evaluates shared files for spam, phishing and malware to block access, if detected. 

Though many DAM solutions provide similar features to Google Drive, some go a step further by providing an advanced access control structure to act as a barrier against unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing and other forms of digital piracy.

DAM users can also relate digital rights information directly to specific assets or groups of assets, thereby providing explicit usage information to the right users, at the right time, so they can make the right usage decision. 


Though Google Drive provides advanced security features, it does not provide any functionality related branding, marketing or sales. Users can use it to view, share and collaborate on files, but that’s about it. 

A DAM solution, on the other hand, provides a wide selection of features and functionalities that provide guardrails and assistance for users to maintain brand consistency across different channels and touchpoints. 

By implementing a modern DAM system like OpenAsset, users can enable their team to deliver a consistent brand message, and support omnichannel customer experiences at scale without the extra time and effort it takes to manually organize branding material in Google Drive. 


The key feature of Google Drive is advanced file sharing, which provides users with view-only, commenting and editing access options. Google Drive also enables users to create convenient links for easy file sharing.

This type of file sharing is useful when dealing with a few low-resolution images, but increasingly unreliable as the number and size of those files grows. In contrast, A DAM system enables users to share large media files like videos and high-res presentations with ease. 


Though Google Drive is highly searchable, it does not provide the type of granular search functionality offered by the best DAM systems. To simplify the search for assets, DAM solutions utilize metadata to identify digital content with attributes and specific keywords. 

These identifiers create an index used to group and categorize assets by common tags (e.g. whitepaper, eBook, etc.), media type (e.g. video, image, etc.) and technology used (e.g. Photoshop, Canva, etc.) to improve searchability.

Empowered with that type of functionality, your team can then leverage your index of digital assets to create rule-driven workflows, and enable task and process automation. In other words, a DAM system works by creating agile workflows that enable your team to find, use and share your digital assets faster and easier than ever before.

Should You Use Google Drive or DAM?

The answer to whether or not you should use Google Drive or a digital asset management solution is… Yes. You should not choose between one solution or the other, but, in fact, use both Google Drive and a DAM system, like OpenAsset, to enable your team with the most functionality. 

Fortunately, Google Drive is free. So, there is very little reason not to utilize both solutions to your maximum advantage. For more information on DAM, we suggest Why Marketers Need a DAM In Their Toolkit and How DAM Supports Large Marketing Teams.

Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions about Google Drive and digital asset management. The following section has the answers you’re looking for. 

Is Google Drive Digital Asset Management?

Yes. Google Drive does provide basic digital asset management. Though, many organizations upgrade to a dedicated DAM solution as the number and size of the files in their digital asset library increases. 

How Do I Organize My Digital Assets On Google Drive?

Organizing digital assets on Google Drive is a simple, but tedious task that requires great time and effort on behalf of the user. To organize digital assets on Google Drive, users must first search for and categorize their files into folders. 

Users can either manually perform these organizing tasks on their own, or utilize a third-party tool. Keep an eye out for old versions of documents and duplicate files, as you will need to eliminate these files on your own. 

Can You Use Google Drive As A DAM?

Yes, but you shouldn’t. Though many organizations begin with storing their files in a free cloud-based system like Google Drive, they often find that as they grow, they need a more robust solution to manage their digital assets – especially their rich media, branded content and the proposals they use to win more business. 

At What Point Should A Small Business Start Using A DAM?

You should adopt a dedicated digital asset management solution as soon as your teams voice concern with:

  • Time and Resource Allocation – By streamlining the search for digital assets, DAM systems minimize the time and effort required to find the images, video, graphics, etc, that teams need to do their job most effectively.
  • Internal and External Collaboration – A DAM facilitates collaboration within your organization and with external partners by making it easier to find and share digital assets. Users can also set permissions to ensure the right users have access to the right files when they need them.
  • Brand Consistency – DAM solutions provide a bird’s-eye view of your digital assets, enabling your team to find and eliminate material that does not align with your brand guidelines.
  • Permissions – DAM solutions make it possible to create groups of users with the same permission level, such as “sales” or “partners,” to make granting access to new assets faster and easier.
  • Rights Management – DAMs allow brands to set expiration dates for assets, as well as tag them with relevant copyright information to make sure they’re used and cited correctly.

Is There A Digital Asset Management (DAM) That Is Easy To Use?

Yes. Fortunately, there is no need to settle for clunky, time-consuming legacy software, because the best DAM solutions combine power, efficiency and ease-of-use. One Such solution is OpenAsset, the only project-based DAM designed specifically for the built world and those who shape it. 

Contact OpenAsset today to schedule a demo of the only DAM solution designed specifically for firms in the built world.