Comprehensive Comparison of Dropbox vs. Google Drive

It seems that every several weeks or so, there’s a “new kid on the block”: another cloud-based backup option vying for your loyalty, subscription, and ultimately your dollars.

The focus now shifts to two “Big Boys,” brand name companies that have quite a solid reputation behind them: Dropbox and Google Drive.

Dropbox, which broke onto the scene in 2008, was the brainchild of Drew Houston, who began inventing it after forgetting his USB memory device one time too many while studying at MIT. True, at that time there were other online backup storage solutions, but, to quote Drew: “[they] suffered problems with Internet latency, large files, bugs, or just made me think too much.” As of November 2012, Dropbox has reached 100 million users.

What is it about Dropbox that has users so enamored?

Pros of Dropbox:

1) Ease of use – Dropbox is so easy to use, even for the technically challenged who have “two-left brains” when it comes to anything technically related. It’s a smooth, clean and straightforward app.

2) Powerful – Dropbox’s ease of use is deceptive. Powerful syncing and backups are occurring behind the scenes. Its ease of use does not compromise on its amazing online backup capabilities.

3) Security – Dropbox takes security seriously, using SSL encryption technology. Users rest easy knowing that they are the only ones accessing their data.

Cons of Dropbox:

1) Expensive – Being that Dropbox is a brand name in online backups and offers such a great interface and service, they get away with a higher price tag, while steadily increasing their client base.

2) Downloads required for editing: With Dropbox, if you want to make edits on any of your retrieved files, you have to download them first. You can’t make the edits online.

As for Google Drive: Drive is newer to the online backup scene, having just arrived in April 2012. Yet in shortly over a year, it already boasts over ten million users:

What does Google Drive bring to the table?

Pros of Google Drive:

1) More free space – Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage space while Dropbox only offers 2GB (yet they do have the option to earn more free space with referrals).

2) Cheaper subscription – Google Drive, like Dropbox, offers paid subscriptions should one require more storage than the base (free) package. Google Drive’s subscriptions are significantly cheaper than the Dropbox pricing model.

3) Fantastic search – Google Drive harnesses the strength of Google’s powerful search engine to search the contents of your backups for a specific file. Drive comes out miles ahead of Dropbox in this regard.

4) Supports many file types – Many data types are supported on Google Drive, enabling the user to make edits directly online, with no download necessary.

Cons of Google Drive:

1) Confined to Google Docs – When accessing your online storage, docs can only be opened using Google Docs. Should you prefer Microsoft Word, you have to take the extra step to export from Docs to Word.
2) Sharing – Sharing documents and data with Google Drive is entirely plausible, yet more complicated and less straightforward than with Dropbox.
Ultimately, like most things in life, Dropbox and Google Drive each have their strong and weak points. It is always best to research an online backup provider before signing up and committing to one. Once that happens, it takes most people too much effort to switch, even if a different cloud-storage service provider is better suited for their personal or business needs.