With the recent arrival of Google Drive, there’s no question that the service is similar to the reigning cloud backup king, Dropbox. So how exactly do the two compare? After nearly 20 hours of being on Google Drive’s “waiting list,” we’re in. Here’s the full comparison, with video!
Both Drive and Dropbox have web apps that allow you to access your files and folders from any computer with a web browser and an internet connection. Dropbox’s site is particularly simple, offering click-through access to every feature of the service, as well as a “Get free space” button that we’ll talk about soon. Google Drive’s web app is also simple, fitting in with the theme present in GMail, Google Calendar and other Google service. This means there’s a search button present at the top, and boy is that glorious! Drive also offers the same sharing and live collaboration on files that Google Docs once did, which is something Dropbox can’t match. Overall, both sites are simple, clean and easy on the eyes as you can see in the above video.
Dropbox has been around long enough to develop their application and get all of the web app’s features working properly. You can save files for offline viewing, automatically upload photos from your smartphone’s camera, starring files and more. The app is also pretty, and fits in with Android 4.0′s “Holo” theme that we love so much. It’s also fast. Really fast.
Google Drive’s Android app replaces the Google Docs app, so if you had Docs installed on your device before, installing the available update will turn that into Drive. Drive’s app, as expected, also fits in nicely with Android 4.0 and delivers an experience we’red used to from other built-in Google apps. Performance isn’t as liquid smooth as Dropbox, but that doesn’t hold anything back. It also offers nearly all the features that the webapp does, including live collaboration on documents, saving for offline viewing, and more, starring files and more.
Both of these desktop apps, available for OSX and Windows, are about as simple as it gets. It adds a folder to your computer called “Google Drive” or “Dropbox” and syncs anything in that folder with the cloud. Organize your files into folders and groups on your computer and they’ll be updated seconds later in the cloud. Nice!
This is one area where Google shines. We saw that coming, right? You can check an option in Drive’s settings to convert images from uploaded text and PDFs in order to index them into search. Freakin’ brilliant! Good on you, Google.
Storage & Prices
Google Drive is definitely a Dropbox competitor, but not quite a Dropbox killer. In fact, for loyal Dropbox users who have accumulated dozens of gigabytes of free storage from referrals, Drive may not offer anything worth switching for. For a user of Google services, however, the benefits are very tempting. Extra storage in GMail and Picassa, integration with with other Google services and applications and more are all great reasons to make the switch. The choice is yours!