As prices drop and internet speeds increase, cloud storage is becoming more and more viable for everyone. In fact, most services even offer a free tier that a majority of users don’t even need to go past. That said, most cloud storage providers offer extra features alongside a server to hold all of your files. In this versus, we are going to compare and contrast two major players in the cloud storage game: Google Drive and Dropbox. These two will be analyzed based on the following metrics:
Let’s Breakdown the Google Drive vs. Dropbox Competition.
Feature Set – The quality of the cloud storage, plus any additional features
Value – The value you get for free vs. paid plans
Both Google Drive and Dropbox provide you with cloud storage. The amount of room varies based on your payment plan, which we’ll get into a little later. Regardless, each of these services allows you to upload pretty much every file type in existence.
The chances are high that you’ll want to share these files with friends and co-workers. You’ll want accessibility levels and uncomplicated link sharing. Dropbox provides this… sort of. When setting access levels, Dropbox gives you the ability to set to view and comment or to edit and comment. What if you’re sharing a file with hundreds of users and only want them to download it? They can all choose to comment and criticize or spam the file, possibly turning away any new users. On top of this, users cannot edit any files unless they have or create a Dropbox account.
Free Dropbox users cannot create password protected share links or set dates for these links to expire. On the bright side, you can choose whether or not users the link is shared with can share it with other users.
On the other hand, Google Drive offers you three accessibility options:
- Anyone with the link can edit
- Anyone with the link can view
- Anyone with the link can comment
This added level of accessibility allows you to be more flexible with what users can do and, as a result, have a cleaner document. Google Drive does not require users to sign up to edit or comment on a document, and you can also prevent other users from sharing or downloading to link to share to even more users.
Because Google Docs is integrated into Google Drive, users should have no problems with real-time editing any documents. Tons of users can be logged into the Google document at any time, each with their cursors showing and with history to view. Users can comment and make edits based on those comments with everyone else in the document having the ability to see them. With its built-in integration, Google Docs is easy to share with other users in Google Drive.
Dropbox’s answer to Google Docs is called Dropbox Paper, and it is not very good in comparison. While it’s incredibly visually appealing, Dropbox Paper looks and runs very similar to Microsoft Office Online but without all of the features. Right now, Dropbox Paper only supports text files. Also, for some strange reason, you cannot convert any Dropbox files over into Dropbox Paper.
Dropbox Paper is only in beta, but for some reason, it doesn’t directly integrate with standard Dropbox. You can only log-in with the same credentials but cannot yet share files between the two. It’s an odd omission that will hopefully be fixed once a full release comes.
A nice feature that comes with both Dropbox and Google Drive is selective syncing. This means that if you download each service’s respective desktop client, you’ll be able to create specific files that automatically sync to your cloud when you place a file in them. You can pause these uploads whenever you’d like, though Dropbox’s only stay paused until you restart the computer, where they will then resume upon logging in.
Both cloud services have stable mobile apps, each of which closely resembles their desktop or online application. You can view all of the files in each of these, but both Google Drive and Dropbox require you to download a separate app for editing them. Drive also has a nifty feature that lets you instantly back up your entire phone.
Google Drive. While both Google Drive and Dropbox have similar overall features, Drive implements them much better and with more of a focus on collaboration.
Google Drive provides you with 15GB of storage for free. No strings attached, and this storage applies to both Google Docs and Gmail. Should you upgrade to their 1.99 a month plan, you’re looking at a substantial 100 GB upgrade. It also offers a 9.99 a month plan for 1TB of storage, and 19.99 for 2TB. These are all reasonable deals for a single user, though Google Drive also offers unlimited storage for 10.00 a user per month. This plan also comes with 24/7 online support and conferencing support for up to twenty-five users.
Google Drive also has a business tier of plans. They fall under the moniker “G Suite,” and start from $5 a month, giving users 30GB of storage, custom e-mail domains, and 24/7 support.
Dropbox only allows users 2GB of free space, but they provide more storage with their paid plans. For 9.99 a month, Dropbox users get 1TB of storage. Then, for 19.99 a month, users can jump to Dropbox Professional. This still only offers 1TB of space, but you also get access to passwords for shared links, smart file syncing, and a 120-day record of storage. Dropbox also gives you 500Mb per referral for standard users and 1GB per referral for Professional and Plus accounts.
Google Drive. Even with their free plan, Drive offers more than most users will ever need. Should they choose to upgrade, they are provided with a ton of storage for a low price, alongside 24/7 support and conferencing capabilities.
As you can see, Google Drive is the clear winner here. That’s not to say Dropbox is useless, however. It’s still in an earlier stage, and it doesn’t have the backing of a massive company like Google behind it. Some companies get along just fine with Dropbox, but Google Drive is usually the preferred option.