Google’s Drive and Dropbox are two of the preferred choices for cloud storage and backup. Which is sensible, as a result of the 2 platforms compete with one another intensely. Which one is best for you? That’s a posh query, and it comes right down to a number of components: your price range, your whole backup wants, and which platforms you wish to use them on.
Unsurprisingly, Google Drive works finest should you’re closely invested in Google’s different programs: Android, Chrome OS, and the Google Workspace suite of internet apps. It’s additionally a greater worth usually. Dropbox is a more sensible choice should you’re extra involved with velocity and efficiency, and are keen to pay for it.
At the patron stage, each firms supply at the least one roughly comparable plan for cloud storage. Here’s a fast breakdown of the varied plans and costs:
Google Drive/Google One
Free (bonuses obtainable)
$2 a month
$3 a month
$10 a month
$12 a month (one person solely), $20 a month for 6 customers
$20 a month (one person solely)
$25 a month
$45 per 30 days/3 person minimal, $15 for every further person
$50 a month
$100 a month
$150 a month
$75 per 30 days/3 person minimal, $25 for every further person
As you may see, Google Drive (often known as Google One) affords each extra preliminary, free storage, and extra and cheaper choices at completely different ranges of storage. Dropbox customers can increase their free storage by getting friends to sign up with referral codes, as much as 16GB. But making customers primarily do your advertising and marketing so that you can get what’s free elsewhere isn’t a fantastic worth proposition.
Both firms supply reductions for paying yearly as a substitute of month-to-month. But by way of bang in your buck, Dropbox actually solely is sensible for particular person customers who need as much as two terabytes of storage, or for groups of customers who want a fully large quantity: greater than Google Drive’s most 30TB.
Also, whereas Google permits free customers to entry Drive from wherever and on limitless units, Dropbox makes users pay for more than three devices to have quick access by way of devoted apps. You can get round this restrict through the use of the Dropbox browser instrument, however it’s a reasonably large barrier at no cost customers.
Google additionally wins out on integration with completely different platforms. The Google Drive system is constructed into most Android telephones and tablets, all Chrome OS-powered units, and it’s the default approach to save information in Google Docs and different Google Workspace instruments. On high of that, Google Drive/One apps can be found on iOS and Windows, permitting for straightforward uploads and downloads.
Dropbox can also be obtainable just about all over the place, however its integration is much less seamless on cellular and Chrome OS. While it’s attainable to add and obtain to Dropbox on virtually any platform (by way of the browser if not a devoted app), it could take just a few extra steps. The three-device restrict on a free Dropbox account is an enormous limiter right here, too.
Both Google Drive and Dropbox combine with quite a lot of different often-used providers, like Microsoft Office, Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, Zoom, et cetera. Dropbox even helps you to register with a Google or Apple account, should you like.
While Google is a transparent winner on worth, and so they’ve made it simple to entry your information on a number of platforms, Dropbox nonetheless has an edge on usability, in my view. Google Drive tends to deal with its storage as one massive pool of knowledge, and whereas it has help for the essential listing system of folders most PC customers are used to, the platform would like you to make use of its built-in search instruments.
Dropbox, alternatively, assumes that you just typically know the place you set your stuff, and makes it simple to navigate by means of folders and sub-folders both on an app or in a desktop listing. It’s not effortlessly intuitive, however it’s acquainted to anybody who’s been utilizing desktops and laptops for many of their grownup lives. It’s a PC-first strategy, reasonably than the (maybe comprehensible) mobile-style interface of Drive.
While Google Drive is on no account sluggish, Dropbox will get the sting in efficiency, too. When attempting to add large quantities of each giant and small information, Dropbox gave me persistently quicker add speeds. That’s a notable consideration should you plan on hitting your storage laborious and often.
Dropbox additionally has a characteristic that makes it quicker to ship information round your native community: LAN sync. This instrument permits information added to your Dropbox account to begin copying over native Ethernet or Wi-Fi connections even earlier than they’re totally uploaded to the cloud. In sensible phrases, this makes a file added in your telephone (say, a brand new picture you took of your pet) seem virtually instantaneously within the Dropbox folder in your Windows or MacOS laptop, as long as each units are related to the native community.
It’s a small however essential benefit if what you’re actually in search of is a bucket of syncing storage that’s fast and simple to entry.
Sharing storage and PC backup
As you may anticipate, Google comes out forward by way of sharing storage between relations. While Google One plans may be shared with as much as 5 further relations (for a complete of six customers) on the most affordable $2 a month tier, Dropbox solely unlocks this selection when you begin paying $20 a month for 2TB of storage.
Individual information may be shared simply on each platforms, and there’s not a lot of a distinction between Google Drive and Dropbox should you’re sharing accounts. But until you want a really large quantity of storage on Dropbox, Google Drive is best by way of worth if you wish to share that storage between two or extra customers.
Both programs supply instruments to again up your PC’s information to the cloud in a system-wide trend… type of. While it’s actually attainable to deal with Google Drive or Dropbox as a cloud backup system, these platforms actually aren’t designed for a daily emergency backup. Their sluggish add velocity and cumbersome backup instruments put them nicely behind devoted providers like Carbonite or Backblaze. I wouldn’t give both one further factors of this characteristic. (For extra on this subject, see our roundup of the best cloud backup services.)
On high of the above instruments, there are much less tangible benefits to each programs. Purchasing further Google Drive storage by way of the Google One system will get you:
Shared area for Gmail messages/attachments and Google Photos
Occasional offers on journey and different gadgets
How about Dropbox? Once once more, Dropbox is extra stingy with its instruments, unlocking a few of its extra premium choices underneath dearer shopper or enterprise accounts. Even the total textual content search, a reasonably primary instrument which you can carry out your self on native information in nearly any OS, isn’t obtainable on the free tier. Once once more Dropbox’s extra stingy nature is hurting it on this comparability.
Google Drive is the clear winner
While Dropbox has a superior interface and person expertise (at the least for individuals who favor typical PC-style file programs), and its efficiency and LAN sync instruments can depart the competitors within the mud, Google is providing a greater product and a greater worth on virtually all different factors of comparability.
From the value of premium storage, to integration with desktop and cellular working programs, to much less tangible bonuses as a part of the Google One system, Drive is a transparent winner. That’s doubly true should you’re seeking to persist with free instruments.
Which isn’t to say that Dropbox is essentially a foul selection. That further efficiency and higher interface may be price it, particularly for customers who don’t essentially want the large quantity of storage Google affords. Just pay attention to the trade-off in worth.
Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been constructing and tweaking desktop computer systems for longer than he cares to confess. His pursuits embrace folks music, soccer, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no specific order.