Google Drive is out and with it another option to store, sync and squeeze your data. But how does Google Drive stack up against Box and Dropbox? I use all three and can certainly say there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Once compared though, it’s very clear where all three sit in the entire scheme of online storage and at what level Google is entering into the file sharing and collaboration game.
Google Drive Comparison
First, this a look at only three options. There are others like Sydrive, Adrive and a slew of backup services. We are focusing on those that offer 1TB+ of storage and desktop syncing comparing the two options (Box, Dropbox) that tend to be the most popular for personal and business use. So, let’s cut to the chase. Here are four charts comparing prices and features – Personal prices, Business Price, Personal Features and Business Features. Prices are per month unless otherwise stated.
*Yearly price up to 5 users, 125 for each additional user.
**Yearly price starting at 3 users, 15/user/month for each additional user.
It’s important to note on the pricing, especially for business, that Dropbox only offers the yearly price, Box offers the monthly rate of 15/month/user (minimum 3 users).
1 Terabyte comparision
Now, prices on Google Drive seem pretty good right? 1 Terabyte on Google Drive is $89/month. Each plan is a license that you can give to one user or spread across all users. So, for one year, here’s what you’re looking at for 1 TB of storage for 5 users.
- Google Drive – $1068
- Dropbox – $795
- Box – $900
The thing to remember here is that as the number of people grow, the cost for Dropbox and Box will increase – 15/user/month for Box and $125/user/year for Dropbox – while Google Drive remains the same. If you need to increase storage for Google Drive, you can add or upgrade a license and keep it spread across the users.
If you’ve done your own comparison, some features like file size, number of users and the need for collaboration may influence the price and your own decisions, but based on the above, the price against the features for both personal and business applications, I’ve chosen the following:
Best Personal Storage – Google Drive
Best Business Storage – Google Drive
Now, here’s why.
The advantage and disadvantage of Google Drive
There are some main advantages to Google Drive:
- Additional storage and integration for photos with Picasa
- Additional storage and integration for email in GMail
- Can spread storage across all users or give to single user
- More storage options
- License management
The storage on Picasa and GMail is limited for free accounts but increases when you buy storage. Ideally, you would be able to share between Google Drive, Picasa and GMail. You can to some extent, opening attached documents and saving or editing them in Gdocs with the added ability to share photos on Google+ from Google Drive. However, you can’t save attached photos directly to Picasa or Drive unless you simply download it to your Google Drive location on your desktop. Google Drive also isn’t available on iOS. This is coming soon. Box however is available and it has much more administrative control, version control and overall features suited for business use.
The Greatest Joy of Google Drive
I’ve used Google Drive on a personal level, not for business yet. The greatest joy I’ve experienced personally with Google Drive is the sudden ability to easily organize folders and documents from the Desktop. After doing so, you look back on Google Drive and your documents are magically organized, synced just as you have them on your desktop. I’m also realizing I can share files much easier with people. Those people are already in my Circle or email correspondence. They’re people I interact with regularly anyway, so I’ve put more files into Google Drive on my desktop. I go to Google Drive in my web browser and am sharing folders I hadn’t thought about before with family and friends – even with Dropbox it was too hard/inconvenient because they didn’t have a Dropbox account or their personal account was full.
Here’s what it’s coming down to. I still use Dropbox for personal storage, Google Drive for personal storage, and Box for Business storage. I use Google Docs for just about every sort of document I need to create. I’m in and out of GMail all day. (You can see where I’m going, I’m sure.) After going through this exercise, Dropbox is becoming less useful to me. At this point I’d rather use my $9.99 a month for 200GB of storage, upload everything to Google Drive and be done with it, instead of picking and choosing files to sync so as not to exceed my 100GB limit on Dropbox.
On the business side, you get a lot of great features from Box. The statistics are nice, but not all that useful. For file sharing and collaboration, Google Drive only goes so far with simultaneous editing of Google Docs, but the available formats, web preview and increasing compatibility between Drive and third-party apps is getting better as well. From a business and cost perspective I can have a free amount of storage, control the licensed storage and cut the yearly cost signficantly. I imagine others are realizing the same thing. That along with the collaboration aspects, make Google Drive a clear winner.
Moving Box, Dropbox and Google Drive locations
Box and Google Drive can be located on a networked storage device. Dropbox doesn’t allow this, so you can locate or relocate your sync folders there. Google Drive is a pain to relocate because it automatically resyncs your folders and if it’s in a new location, it creates duplicates of everything. Box, on the other hand is easy as going to your Box settings and selecting “Change ‘My Box Files’ location”.
What Box users say about Google Drive
You can imagine Box is working hard to keep their customers happy. In an email with a Box representative, I received the following:
“The general consensus of our customers who have taken a look at Gdrive is that it is more of a consumer oriented tool and lacks much of the enterprise features box provides. Something that is important to our customers especially as they grow…I have compiled a number of issues that my customers had presented me when evaluating Gdrive, some may be more applicable to your use than others.”
Lack of Administrative Control: – No way to control organization of content
- No Password protected content/content expiration
- No reporting on logins, downloads, edits, and uploads for a specific date range
- No centralized control over passwords, access permissions, and storage allocations
- Users, not admins create groups
Limited Functionality: – Only 2 levels of access can be granted (box has 7)
- No direct web links to content
- Lack of desktop application integrations
- No way to send multiple files via email, must download and attach
- No tasks or folder discussions
- Only mobile apps are for Android and iOS
- No integration with Active Directory
- Poor Version management
- No customization of the interface
- No Pooled Storage; must purchase storage for each user