Cloud Storage Face Off: Google Drive vs. Dropbox

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Cloud Storage Face Off: Google Drive vs. Dropbox

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):
  • “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   +1 for Google Drive
  • 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.

Further reading:

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!

  • Chris Bantock

    Leave reply
    June 1, 2012


    Really useful post – many thanks. I am now trying out Google drive.


  • Tomasz Lisiecki

    Leave reply
    June 1, 2012

    Thanks for that! Great article.

    However, I think you missed really important disadvantage of Google Drive.

    You lose copyrights to anything you upload to Google Drive. Google takes rights over the file from you. While in Dropbox, they don’t take your property.

    As a proof there is the source which says:

    “You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. ”

    Google Drive:
    “When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”


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