Dropbox and Google Drive are two comparable cloud storage services. With a good amount of us using more than one device these days, tools like Dropbox and Drive can really come in handy for syncing and sharing files across multiple devices.
Dropbox launched back in 2008, and has since grown to become the go-to service for cloud-based storage, especially for everyday consumers. As of November 2012, Dropbox claimed more than 100 million users. Drive, which launched last April , has just over 10 million users .
Both Drive and Dropbox feature similar drag-and-drop syncing, and offer a certain amount of free storage, and then force you to pay for additional storage.
Here's what you should consider when deciding which service to use:
Storage Space For The Price
Dropbox offers 2 GB of storage for free while Google Drive offers 5GB for free. But Dropbox makes it a little easier to access additional storage for free, offering a 125 MB of extra storage if you connect your account with Facebook, and 125 MB of storage if you connect with Twitter. You can also earn extra storage by inviting your friends to join Dropbox.
Dropbox also offers a Pro plan, starting at $9.99 per month for 100GB, and up to $49.99 per month for 500 GB.
Drive, on the other hand, offers 25 GB for $2.49 per month, 100 GB for $4.99 per month, and up to 16 TB of storage, for as much as $799 per month.
Winner: Google Drive offers cheaper plans than Dropbox, while also offering more storage for free up front. Even though Dropbox makes it very easy to get additional free storage space, Drive offers significantly more space for much less.
Both Drive and Dropbox offer very similar desktop clients. Both allow you to see and access all of your files in a desktop folder. One caveat with Google Drive: You can only open documents in Google Docs. Even though Docs works well in offline mode, people who prefer Microsoft Word, for example, would first have to export the file from Docs and then open it in Word.
Winner: If you want more flexibility with your files, go with Dropbox.
This is where Google Drive really shines. Google Drive features a suite of apps including Docs, Spreadsheets, PicMonkey for editing images, and DocuSign for collecting and sharing signatures.
Drive also comes with Google's powerful search tools. Users can specifically search through presentations, documents, spreadsheets, private files, shared items, and more. Drive's search taps into Google's Optical Character Recognition service and Images, making it possible to scan and search documents for text and images.
For example, if there's an image of Florence, Italy in your Drive, simply search for "Florence" and all relevant images will come up.
Dropbox does offer an advanced search, but nothing anywhere close to the robustness of Google Drive's. Dropbox only gets as advanced as searching for "all of these words," "exact phrase," "any of these words," and "none of these words."
Both Drive and Dropbox feature built-in viewers for documents, images, and other file types. That way, you don't need to download the file in order to look at it. And Drive takes it a step further, allowing you to actually edit documents online. However, what Drive lacks is a built-in player for music. Still, you can download and install a Chrome extension for audio files.
Winner: Drive's search functionality simply puts Dropbox's to shame. Drive is also packed with a wide range of apps and services for real-time collaboration and editing.
File Type Support
Google Drive supports up to 30 different file types, all of which you can open directly within your Web browser. Other than your standard text, audio, and video files, Drive also supports AutoDesk, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files, even if you don't have those programs installed on your computer. That means you can edit documents and other files without needing to download them to your computer.
Still, Dropbox does support many file types including PDFs, documents, video, photos, Photoshop files, and music. They can be viewed in the browser, but you can't edit them online.
Winner: Drive, for its ability to open and edit any type of file online. If you want to be able to view and edit a wide range of files online, Drive is the one for you. Sure, you can view files online using either Dropbox or Drive, but Dropbox requires you to download files in order to make edits.
Both Drive and Dropbox are pretty good when it comes to sharing. A key difference: Drive only allows you to share through its Web app, while Dropbox offers sharing directly from its desktop app.
Dropbox offers two ways to share: via a link, which you can share with anyone, or via a shared folder. When someone joins a shared folder, it will automatically sync with their Dropbox account.
Google Drive's sharing features are a bit more convoluted, but just as effective. Drive users can share files as an email, and can also specify how much access someone has to the file. For example, you can share a file with someone but only let them view it, rather than view it and edit it.
Still, it's worth noting that if you're running Mac OS X Mountain Lion, you can share any file via AirDrop, iMessage, and email.
Winner: Dropbox provides a more seamless sharing experience. Sure, Drive gives you more visibility options, but Dropbox requires far less work on either end of the sharing spectrum.
Both services are available on iOS, Windows, Mac, and Android devices. But Dropbox has a slight upper-hand, as it's also compatible on Linux and Blackberry. But Google is working on developing Drive for Linux. Neither support Windows Phone.
Winner: Dropbox, because it's available on more platforms.
Since Drive links to your Gmail account, you can enable two-step authentication.
Dropbox offers a similar two-step verification feature, where you must submit your password in addition to a six-digit security code in order to sign in.
It's a close call between Dropbox and Drive, but Drive ultimately comes out victorious. Drive is much cheaper than Dropbox, offers more functionality online, and supports a unique set of file types.
Which storage service do you think is better? Vote below!
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