Finding the right systems for your business is critical. I’ve recently been looking at the new Google Drive to see how it compares to Dropbox. We’ve used Dropbox internally for a couple of years now. We’re considering whether Google Drive may be a better alternative.
So here’s my overview of Google Drive and how it compares to Dropbox:
- The desktop software for Google Drive works in pretty much the same way as Dropbox. it works for Mac and PC, but not Linux (at time of writing): http://support.google.com/a/
- “Google Docs” format docs are shown in your local “Google Drive” folder as “shortcuts” to the online version of them. Fairly useful.
- You can drop any other files into your Google Drive and these will be synced to the “cloud” (just like dropbox).
- Google Drive saves a version history of all file types so if you change or delete a file you can always recover an old version from the online Google Drive (similar to dropbox).
- Renaming top level folders – when you change a folder name, it changes everywhere (dropbox doesn’t do this annoyingly, the original folder name stays the same on everyone else’s dropbox as far as we’re aware). +1 for Google Drive
- Sharing sub-folders – dropbox can’t do this, but google drive can. Much more flexible. +1 for Google Drive
- Sharing any files in any folder to external users (i.e. if you want to make a large file available to an external person, just right click and “share” and add their email address. Doesn’t have to be a google account email address either) – doesn’t work in the same way as your Dropbox “Public” folder where the public link is a direct link to the file. Google Drive shared links bring you to a page where the file can be downloaded (a bit clunky).
- Google Drive is cheaper for larger amounts of space (You can purchase space / licences through the Google Apps control panel and assign to users). Starts at £2.50 per month per user for 20GB for the user. Pricing details here for licenses http://support.
google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=. +1 for Google Drive en&answer=1726914
- Google Drive has apps for iPhone and Android so you can grab important files on the go if needed (same as dropbox)
- Google Drive doesn’t have LAN sync (i.e. large files will have to finish uploading, before other machines download them, not great for sharing big files in the office – dropbox is quicker / more efficient) -1 for Google Drive
- Google Drive doesn’t have “Delta Sync” i.e. if you make a change to a file, it will re-upload the whole file, whereas Dropbox will only upload the parts of the file that were updated (more efficient use of bandwidth) -1 for Google Drive
- Google Drive doesn’t encrypt files, Dropbox does. Ok, pros and cons to this. Encryption = better security (in theory). But by not encrypting files, Google Drive enables online previews of many different file types as well as the fantastic Google search functionality to shine.
Summary: Google Drive is great but has a few missing features to catch up with Dropbox.
Let me know what you think. Google Drive? or Dropbox? or none of the above?!
If you think I missed anything in the above review, please do add it to our comment thread below.
Until next time!