Google Cloud Apps Admins

Four Differences Between Google Drive and Dropbox

Written by Christopher Alghini (Senior Cloud Strategist) | October 23, 2013

With many of us using multiple devices it has become necessary for us to sync and maintain consistency between all of them. Cloud storage providers are working hard and competing to have seamless file sharing and access. They allow us to have cross platform compatibility. Two of the main providers are Google Drive and Dropbox. Both offer the same basic features and are very comparable. Dropbox has been on the market quite a few years before Google Drive so it has a larger market share, however Google Drive still is a close competitor. With any competing product there are key differences that needed to be noted.

Round 1: Differences in File Support

When uploading files, you do not have to be concerned file type on the cloud service, but you can only view certain file types that are supported. Google Drive is known for being able to support a large variety of files. There are 30 different file types that Google Drive supports. You can view files such as AutoDesk and even Photoshop files despite not having those programs installed on your computer since you can edit documents without downloading them to your computer. When viewing Microsoft files online they are converted to the Google docs equivalent when editing. On the other hand Dropbox does not support any file type. Instead all files must be downloaded to the computer, so nothing is opened while online. This means that you would have to own the program for the file that was sent.

Round 2: Price V.S Storage Space

Each service offers a certain amount of free storage space for their basic users and additional storage can be purchased. Google Drive starts users off with 5GB of storage where as Dropbox only starts with 2GB of storage. Google offers 25GB for $2.49 a month, 100GB for $4.99 a month if users need more storage space. Dropbox rates on the other hand start at $9.99/month for 50 GB or $19.99 for 100 GB. Overall Google Drive offers more space for a cheaper price.

Round 3: Deleted Files and Old Versions 

Both Google Drive and Dropbox have their own way to deal with version control, which allows you to go back and retrieve old files that you deleted or older versions of a file. The way Google Drive deals version control it is that it stores up to100 revisions of a document or 30 days of versions per document, which counts towards your total storage allowance. The trash folder is used to store deleted files and if the trash folder is deleted the files are gone forever. Dropbox keeps unlimited versions of your document for 30 days and it does not count toward the total storage space you are allowed.

Round 4: Sharing Features

The ability to share files is a key aspect when analyzing both Drive and Dropbox. The main difference between them is that Dropbox shares from its desktop app whereas with Drive you can only share through the Web app. With Drive files are shared with an email, and restrictions can be set so that the viewers only have access to view the document and not edit it. With Dropbox there are two ways to share a file: one option is with a link and the other is a shared folder. When analyzing sharing features it is also important to look at compatibility features as well. Google Drive only supports Mac and Windows users. Dropbox supports more and earlier versions of Mac OS and Windows as well and Linux,which can be an advantage.