Dropbox vs Google Drive

obrBy Ritika Tiwari — Last Updated: 24 May'17 2015-10-26T02:51:14+00:00Google+
Dropbox vs Google Drive 2015 Edition
Dropbox and Google Drive are two of the biggest cloud providers in the world and are often mistaken to be very much alike, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While Google Drive focuses on collaboration and real-time editing, Dropbox is a good old fashioned cloud storage service.

With two different online editors (Microsoft Office Online and Paper) bundled within Dropbox, the cloud storage service has made things a bit complicated for users. Additionally, both text editors, combined, can’t compete against Google’s single offering — Google Docs.

In this battle of Dropbox vs. Google Drive, the latter will take the crown, because of its free and unconditional 15GB of storage, secure and easy collaboration, sharing features and Google Docs support.

Dropbox Video Review

Dropbox Review 2016 | Find The Right Cloud

Google Drive Video Review

Google Drive Review 2016 | Find the Right Cloud

Dropbox vs Google Drive – The Comparison

Dropbox vs Google Drive 2016 **Update**

In this battle of Dropbox vs. Google Drive, I will be testing their various features to see how they fare against each other. For each round, their features and limitations will be compared, to declare a winner. And the champion of the battle will be the cloud storage provider that wins the most rounds.

Starts from$ 1 99monthly
Visit Google DriveGoogle Drive Review
  • Google Docs integration
  • Many third-party apps
  • In-app collaborations
  • Strong customer support
  • Weak file-sharing security
  • No private encryption option
  • No block-level sync
  • Cheaper options
Starts from$ 9 92monthly
Visit DropboxDropbox Review
  • Very fast sync
  • MS Office Online Integration
  • Dropbox Paper
  • Only up to 1TB
  • Expensive
  • Not zero knowledge
  • No 24/7 support

Available Storage Space

Storage is one of the most important factors when selecting a cloud storage provider. Most providers come with a fixed free storage limit. While you can pay to increase the limit, if you are on a budget, it’s better to find a provider which is free and fits your immediate storage requirements as well.

Dropbox provides 2GB of free storage, and users can earn up to 16GB of space, by following Dropbox on social media and referring the service to their friends. Files created on Dropbox Paper do not count towards the total storage limit.

Google Drive provides 15GB of free storage for all users, with no conditions attached. Google Docs sports unlimited storage space, and with Google Photos, you also get free space for unlimited images, up to 16MP in quality. Note, if you use Gmail, then your email storage is counted towards the total Google Drive limit.

Dropbox might provide 16GB of free space, but there are strings attached to getting it. The winner of this round is Google Drive, for providing a fuss-free 15GB of cloud space and unlimited storage for Google Docs and Photos.

Winner (Available Storage Space): Google Drive
Google Drive

Business Users

Whether it’s a small team or a large enterprise, with employees all around the globe, a cloud storage provider can work as the primary center for storing company files and helping team members collaborate. Both Dropbox and Google Drive provide a broad range of business plans, targeting everyone: from a one-person company to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large enterprises.

Dropbox’s business plans start at $8.25 per month for 1TB storage, which is perfect for individuals. It provides two-factor authentication and 256-bit AES encryption, but customer support is only available via email.

PlanDropbox PlusDropbox ProfessionalDropbox Business
Price Plan
$ 9 99monthly
$ 119 00yearly
$ 19 99monthly
$ 239 88yearly
$ 15 00monthly
$ 180 00yearly
Storage 1000 1000 2048

The unlimited plans start at $20 per user, per month. Though, even with that plan, phone support is only available during business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time), which can be a problem for companies working late night shifts.

Google Drive has a separate section for business plans, called G Suite (previously known as Google Apps for Work). The monthly plans start at $5 per month, providing 30GB of storage, a custom domain business emails, and access to all the other Google tools and 24/7 customer support via email, phone, and chat.

Price Plan
$ 1 99monthly
$ 9 99monthly
$ 19 99monthly
$ 99 99monthly
$ 199 99monthly
$ 299 99monthly
Storage 15 100 1000 2000 10000 20000 30000

Free plan.

Annual Discount: 16%

Annual Discount: 17%

Annual Discount: n/a

Annual Discount: n/a

Annual Discount: n/a

Annual Discount: n/a

Unlimited storage plans with Google Drive start at $10 per user, per month with 24/7 support, with video and voice conferencing for up to 25 users at a time.

Clearly, Google Drive is the winner of this round for providing more affordable unlimited storage plans and better 24/7 user support.

Winner (Business Users): Google Drive
Google Drive

Sharing and Collaboration

A cloud storage provider shouldn’t just make sharing files easy with other users, it should also allow users to choose different accessibility levels, so their data is safe even when sharing files. If you’re planning to collaborate with others, opt for a cloud storage provider that has different accessibility levels and the ability to monitor every change made by users.

For better collaboration, a cloud storage provider should at least have the following three levels of access:

  1. View only
  2. View & comment only
  3. Edit access

Unfortunately, Dropbox complicates the process by only providing edit and view access. But, here is where things get complicated — “view” in Dropbox is viewing and comment only. There is no access level which only allows shared users to see a file and not leave a comment.

I did find a hyperlink in the “link” settings which says “learn how to disable comments,” but that link gives a 404 error.

There is also an option to password-protect shared file links and set an expiry date, but it’s only available for Dropbox Plus users. Another issue with Dropbox is that it does not allow users to share files with edit access, you can either share files with a view and comment access, or directly share folders with edit access.

Also, even if you give editing access through a folder, a user can only edit a document after they have signed into Dropbox, so, if you want to collaborate with someone who doesn’t have a Dropbox account, they’ll be forced to sign up. Though I have to say,  I love how Dropbox clearly showcases all shared folders, files, and links.

If there is a file that you don’t want to share anymore, you can quickly locate it and change the sharing settings.

You can also manage access and choose to not allow users with editing privileges, to share the file with someone else.

Coming to Google Drive, it provides all the three access levels — view only, view and comment only, and edit. Just like Dropbox, Google Drive allows users to share files and folders either by entering a recipient’s email or directly sharing the file/folder link.

But unlike Dropbox, Google Drive allows any guest user to edit a document, without forcing them to sign up. There is also an option to prevent shared users from downloading a file or sharing it, with more users via email. If you’re using G Suite, then there will be additional access levels allowing only people in your organization to view shared files.

Google Drive is the winner of this round, by a significant margin, for enabling users to share files with editing access in a direct and uncomplicated manner. 

Winner (Sharing and Collaboration): Google Drive
Google Drive

Real-Time Editing

Editing documents online and storing them in the cloud is the need of the hour. After all, nobody wants to spend half of their time uploading and downloading documents from their cloud storage.

While Google Drive makes this easy with Google Docs, Dropbox is still figuring out the right way to implement real-time editing. Up until last year, real-time editing and collaboration on Dropbox were only possible through Microsoft Office Online, which isn’t as smooth or easy-to-use as Google Docs. You can’t see the revisions made by other users, comment history or people viewing the document at any given time. There is also no way to create new document files online; you can only upload them.

In 2016, Dropbox launched Dropbox Paper, a clear competitor to Google Docs. The new document editing tool comes with a modern interface which makes collaboration easy and smooth. We did a very detailed article comparing Dropbox Paper and Google Docs, which you can check out here.

Though no matter how great Paper looks, it’s still in beta, and only supports text files and lacks a fully-fledged text formatting tool like Google Docs or Microsoft Office have. I know what you’re thinking — If Dropbox has already launched Paper, then why did I just discuss Microsoft Office Online in Dropbox in such detail.

Well, because they both exist simultaneously.

You can edit all documents uploaded to Dropbox directly with Microsoft Office Online, and they count towards your total storage limit. On the other hand, Dropbox Paper does not count towards your storage limit, and you can directly create a new file online, instead of having to upload one. You can also create folders to store Dropbox Paper files, which you will not be able to see on your main Dropbox home page.

If you are still confused, here is a brief rundown — Dropbox Paper is a separate, real-time editing and collaboration tool, which is completely different from the Dropbox cloud storage service. The only thing common between them is the fact that they can be accessed from the same page and through the same login credentials.

According to Dropbox, there is no way to convert uploaded documents into Paper files, as of now.

So, why is Dropbox so hell-bent on confusing its users?

Well, we don’t know for sure, but my guess is Dropbox is testing out the waters with Paper, and that’s why it’s still in beta. Once Paper has all the formatting and editing features of Microsoft Office, Dropbox will probably make Paper its full-time document editing tool.

Till then, there is Google Drive, which simplifies things with Google Docs. You can upload documents, create new ones, preview them and if you want to edit them online, you can also convert them to Google Docs format. Microsoft Office and Google Docs files have different icons in Google Drive, making it easy for users to differentiate betwixt the twain.

On Google Docs, you can see who is viewing and editing a file. Revision history can also be checked to see changes made by each user and there are also enough formatting options in Google Docs, making it a great alternative to Microsoft Office.

Winner (Real-Time Editing): Google Drive
Google Drive

Desktop Clients and File Syncing

One major differentiating factor between a cloud storage provider and a cloud backup provider — is file syncing. When you use a cloud storage provider, any changes made to a file from any device is synced instantly to the server, and you can then access the modified version of that file from anywhere.

It doesn’t matter whether changes to the file were made voluntarily or not, if there is a change, it will get synced with the server, and you will instantly be able to see the new version online. Of course, you can undo any change by restoring an older version of the file (which we’ll be discussing in the next round).

When you download a desktop client for either Dropbox or Google Drive, a dedicated folder gets created on your local drive, and all the files inside that folder get automatically synced to the cloud. So any changes made to them locally, through the desktop client or online through the web app, are synced instantly as well.

But, there’s a problem here — If everything on your cloud storage gets synced offline, then your local drive will start running out of space. The solution to that problem is selective syncing. With selective sync, you can select which files or folders get synced with a local drive and which don’t. Selective syncing is available on both Dropbox and Google Drive.

For Dropbox, the selective sync option is present under the accounts section, which lets only select folders that you want to sync to a local drive. Though, all the files inside the main Dropbox folder sync to the cloud automatically, so you ought to move those files to a separate folder, to save up on local storage.

Pausing a sync on Dropbox only pauses it until the system shuts down. Dropbox automatically starts syncing again, when you switch on the system, which I find mildly annoying. There is also no support for Dropbox Paper on the desktop client as of now. But thanks to Dropbox’s collaboration with Microsoft Office, you’ll see a sleek panel on each MS Office file when opening it.

It allows you to share the file online, check comments or view version history on Dropbox.

In Google Drive’s local folder, you can view document files, images, PDFs and other file formats, but Google Docs cannot be viewed locally on any text editors. Opening one in Microsoft Word will result in this:

To activate selective sync on Google Drive’s desktop client, click on the three dots on the side and choose Preferences. Under the Sync options tab, you can either choose to sync everything or just selected folders. All the files that are directly saved in your “My Drive” folder and not in any sub-folder get synced automatically.

Dropbox has a badge for all Microsoft Office files, making it easy to edit them locally and share online. But Google Drive’s desktop client doesn’t forcefully sync everything every time you switch on your computer. So, this round ends in a tie. 

Winner (Desktop Clients and File Syncing): Tie
Google Drive

File Versioning

As I mentioned in the last section, any changes made by a user in real-time are synced to the cloud immediately, creating a new version of the file, which is accessible by all shared users. If some users will be editing a file at the same time, it’s best to choose a cloud storage provider that keeps older versions of every file and can clearly indicate which user made what changes.

Both Dropbox and Google Drive keep older versions of files for 30 days, after which, they get deleted forever. To access previous versions on Dropbox, hover the mouse cursor over the file and click on the three dots on the right-hand side. Now choose version history, and all the versions of that file will be listed. You can decide to download a previous version or restore it.

On Google Drive, you can right-click a file and choose “manage versions.” By clicking on the three dots on the side, you can either download a version or restore it. Though, it’s only applicable for uploaded files.

For Google Docs version history, you have to open that doc, go to “file” and click on “see revision history.”

Since both Google Drive and Dropbox provide more or less the same versioning features, it’s a tie yet again.

Winner (File Versioning): Tie
Google Drive

Web Apps

Whether it’s editing documents online or customizing sharing options, web apps are the leading center for both Dropbox and Google Drive. Dropbox has a clean and straightforward interface with a white background and blue foreground. The sharing button appears when you hover over a file or a folder, and you can view advanced options by clicking on the three dots on the side.

Regarding looks, Dropbox’s white and blue interface is much better than Google Drive’s dull gray color scheme.

However, regarding functionality, Google Drive defeats Dropbox with one simple feature, and that is, the right-click. Yes, right-click works effortlessly with Google Drive’s web app, just as it would on your local desktop. By right-clicking on a file or a folder, you can make any modifications to it.

Google Drive also allows users to view file/folder information and any activity right on the main page, by clicking on the information button.

Google Drive’s web app has an advanced search tool, which can locate any file, whether you know the file’s name or not. Google Drive’s web app may be dull regarding looks, but the many features, and ease-of-use make it the winner of this round.

Winner (Web Apps): Tie
Google Drive

Mobile Access

Both Dropbox and Google Drive allow users to view or share files through their mobile app, but to edit a document on your mobile, you need Microsoft Office app for Dropbox and Google Docs for Google Drive.

Dropbox’s mobile app is neat and starkly resembles the web app. Users can view uploaded files or folders, or upload a new one. There is also an option to backup mobile photos to Dropbox or take data offline. You can view documents, but editing them is only possible if you have the Microsoft Office app on your phone.

Google Drive’s app also resembles its web app. When you click on the dotted lines located on the side, you’ll see the options to share a file, move it, rename it or remove it. You can also upload folders and files, use the phone’s camera to take a picture and instantly upload it or create a new Google Doc.

You can view all documents but, just like Dropbox, you need the Google Docs app to be able to edit them. In the Settings menu, there is an option to create a passcode lock and backup your phone data to Google Drive instantly, which is the reason why Drive wins this round.

Winner (Mobile Access): Google Drive
Google Drive

Third-Party Integration

Third-party integrations save time and help us share files from the cloud without having to go to the cloud storage provider’s app repeatedly. For instance, Gmail is integrated with Google Drive, allowing users to directly attach their Drive files either as a link or a file attachment.

Dropbox has an open source API that users can integrate into their apps directly. Apart from that, Dropbox also provides in-built support for over 100,000 third-party apps including:

  • Salesforce
  • Asana
  • Slack
  • Boxcrypter

But only for business users. Free users can use app integration services like IFTTT or Zapier to connect Dropbox to other apps.

Google Drive has three different kinds of third-party integrations:

  • Premiere business apps — (for G Suite users) available under the SAML Apps option on the Admin portal. You can choose to upload customized apps here as well.
  • Google Docs add-ons — which are available for all users. They can be accessed by opening a Google Doc and going to the Add-ons tab.

Since both Google Drive and Dropbox provide more or less the same features, this round is a tie.

Winner (Third-Party Integration): Tie
Google Drive

Photos and Other Media

When was the last time you struggled to share pictures with the entire family?

By moving images to the cloud, you can share them with family and allow other family members to upload photos from their cameras, in the same shared folder as well. On Dropbox, uploaded photos count towards the main storage limit. You can preview them online, but there are no editing features. Though you can mark a section of an image and add a comment to it, and this little feature comes in handy for graphic designers and digital marketers.

With Google Drive, you can upload photos on Google Photos, which has unlimited free storage, as along as the photo quality is 16 megapixels or lower. If it’s higher, you can either choose to compress the quality, or upload them as they are; but doing so means pictures will count towards your total storage limit.

There is no commenting option available for photos in Google Drive, but Google Photos has an advanced image search algorithm courtesy of Google’s search engine. So, if you type “cake,” it will show all pictures in your Google Drive that have a cake in it (in this case, even cupcakes and frozen yogurt).

Winner (Photos and Other Media): Google Drive
Google Drive

Security and Privacy

Most cloud storage providers lack end-to-end encryption. That means data only gets encrypted when it’s being transferred, and when files are idle on the cloud server. Data is not encrypted when it’s being transferred from your end. Not to mention, even when the data is encrypted, your cloud storage provider has the key to unlock it.

Also, all cloud storage providers that have headquarters or data centers in the US, have an open door policy towards the NSA, and that includes Dropbox and Google Drive. If you’re planning to store sensitive information in the cloud, it’s crucial to check the storage provider’s security and privacy policy.

Dropbox has a 256-bit AES encryption and files are encrypted when they are at-rest and in-transit. Google, on the other hand, provides 128-bit AES encryption.

The reason why most users opt for Dropbox over Google Drive is that Google tracks everything users do and then leverages that information to target them with personalized ads. Google’s terms of service page mentions that — you will have the copyright to your uploaded content, but Google will get a “limited license” over your data, which allows the company to perform data mining on it.

Before you jump ship and become Team Dropbox for better privacy, let’s travel back in time to 2016, when news reports came in stating that Dropbox faced a major data breach in 2012 and the login details of over 68 million users were stolen (including mine). I don’t know what’s more disturbing, one of the biggest cloud storage companies getting hacked, or the fact that it took four years for this information to come to light.

To be honest, when it comes to security and privacy, it’s a gamble between Dropbox and Google, they’re both pretty poor. If you are looking for a more secure alternative, you can either use Boxcrypter to encrypt files before they are uploaded to Google Drive or Dropbox, or use a zero-knowledge cloud storage tool with private encryption.

Winner (Security and Privacy): Tie
Google Drive

The Verdict

In this battle of the best, Google Drive is the clear winner. When it comes to real-time sharing and collaboration, it’s far ahead of Dropbox. At the same time, we have to remember that Dropbox Paper has not yet integrated properly into Dropbox’s cloud storage service.

When it does, Dropbox might be able to give Google Drive a serious run for its money. Until then, Google holds the throne and it doesn’t seem like any other cloud storage provider will be able to knock it off, for now at least.

Which cloud storage tool do you use — Dropbox or Google Drive? Share your opinions and thoughts with me in the comments section below.

Audio Version: 

Overall winner: Google Drive

52 thoughts on “Dropbox vs Google Drive”

  1. Interesting article.
    But if you do real speed test you should also test it with 5000 files of a few kb. Then you’ll see that dropbox is alot faster then it’s competitors (not that I’m a fanboy). Then you see that onedrive completely stops working. Drive works ‘good’ . Copy works bit better (but lacks knowing when small changes are done)..
    But overall dropbox beats them hard.

    Also when working with alot of small files, I’ve found that it takes long time before copy or onedrive notices that something small has changed.

    Dropbox (and drive on second place) notice this alot faster.

    You should do some testing on that.

  2. Evaluating performance on file sync through the agent can also be trivial and depends upon user’s needs: for example I would not want my file sync application to eat up all my bandwidth to upload large amount of data I put in the sync folder but I’d appreciate to upload them while leaving my link operational and, since these applications do not seem to have bandwidth throttling feature, I prefer the second approach (but it’s just my taste, other might prefer raw horsepower..)

  3. I believe that the free version of Excel for iPad works better with Dropbox. I can’t get the Google Drive to activate, despite the on/off ‘button’. Dropbox is basically automatically there.
    I can open and edit files in Excel from Dropbox. Can’t do that with Google Drive. Before today, and trying this, I was strictly using Google Drive. Now I think I’ll be using Dropbox, at least for spreadsheets….

  4. Upload to Dropbox via website is super easy… Drag file to the window it goes straight into whatever folder is showing… Or drag it to a folder and it goes there instead…

  5. Also, just tried it… you can right-click on any blank portion of the window (white areas to the side or above is fine) and select upload from the contextual menu…

    Use the website view like you would any Explorer Window or if you’re using a Mac Finder window… and it works exactly the same way….

    To me.. that’s much easier than an upload button.

  6. This article need a review as there are more features added to Google drive now. e.g. You can now upload a folder which automatically organises the files with same subfolder structure

  7. What is theexpected single image / file max size limit ?

    I have 4gb image I need to upload it . Which engine support and what is the limit ?

  8. What about CPU usage? Dropbox seems to be a huge CPU sucker in our small office. Anyone else notice this or have comparison with Google Drive?

    1. We had the same problem in our office here in Japan. We wound up dropping our Dropbox subscriptions and migrating everything over to Google Drive. From my personal experience working with the two Google Drive has been significantly faster and more reliable than Dropbox, but after reading other reviews I think it has more to do with your personal location and internet infrastructure than anything else.

  9. Fantastic, thorough and unbiased review. Thank you! It was immensely helpful for me.

    You mentioned bandwidth clogging problems with Google Drive. I had the same problem. In my case, I have a router with solid QoS management, so I simply prioritized VoIP, Web Surfing and Streaming Video over File Transfer. Google Drive sync was still very speedy, but I no longer had any problems with bandwidth hogging.

    I didn’t even bother trying with Google Drive’s bandwidth management settings. For me, the router QoS solved the problem completely.


  10. While very interesting, I’m surprised the issue of sharing subfolders is not addressed as it is a critical flaw with Drop Box. With DropBox it is not possible to assign a subfolder to a different individual than the parent folder. So for example, if I have a folder for Suppliers and it is shared amongst everyone in the company and within it I have Company X and Company Y. I don’t want X to see the information from Y but I’m forced to make the parent folder open to all who have access below. The only work around is to make all the company folders parent folders but the result would be a very large main directory with no real organization. My understanding is that this is not an issue with Google Drive. This is a very big problem for our firm and from what I read it is a big problem for many others.

  11. We do heavy video production, of the two : Dropbox hands down most reliable

    Our frustration with Google Drive: #1. We actually met a size limitation after hours of transferring video, we met a Cap.

    #2. You cannot transfer ownership of Any Videos, the only thing transferrable are documents in word and excel. And that is it.

    So Google Drive actually sucks if you are in video production, its unreliable because it does not have the storage capabilities, and there are no options to transfer video ownership, we searched the internet through and through. Because of this, we are spending hours downloading, its a pain in the ass.

    That should sum up your study with full accuracy.

  12. I prefer dropbox because it has a linux desktop client, ant not Google drive. Also when many people download a file from your account when you share, Google drive says that you need to try later, while dropbox has not such an issue when you share.

  13. Isn’t this a bit of comparing apples and oranges? Google Drive doesn’t actually store files on resident computers, but rather keeps everything in the cloud, right? Dropbox stores files on resident computers and in the cloud, and updates changes to the files, right?

    1. No, both services work in a similar way. They can both store files on computers and sync them across your devices. You can, however, activate selective sync, so that only some folders are copied locally to your system.

      1. Errr, not 100% correct. Any documents, spreadsheets, and presentations created in Google’s formats with Google Docs are only on Google Drive on the web. What appear to be local copies are only links to the online files, as Google’s native formats cannot live outside Google Drive. Any other formats do have local copies. I would love to use Google Docs, but will not because the only copy is on Google Drive, not the local folder.

        1. Not really. You can use Google docs offline, keep your filed local. You only need to activate offline mode. Google the procedure. Regards.

          1. Yes Edu, you are right, and I stand corrected. However, I have to say that I have found the offline mode a bit unreliable sometimes. When it does work it’s certainly great to have. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  14. This is exactly what I found out in the past 3 days.

    My brother recommended that I should switch to Gdrive so that I will only have to use one account to sign in to all my services, on computer and on my Android phone.

    I went through the trouble of uploading everything (4GB of pictures, music and personal docs) to Gdrive. Then I set up all the syncs on my Android phone using Drivesync, all was good, but then;

    1. File ownership issues, pictures/videos shared between me and my wife, if my wife added those pictures/videos and I deleted those, they would stay on in my wife’s Gdrive but just not show anymore (taking the space).
    2. Gdrive crashed on my local computer quite a few times when I was using a program that creates/updates a dozen files simultaneously to create simulation (Dropbox never crashed in the past 4 years of use).
    3. Too easy to delete/move something from Gdrive web interface, there are no prompts for the deletion, only a message to undo.
    4. Very very slow sync speeds, it took about 90 minutes to upload the 4GB of data to Gdrive on my connection, took 5 minutes to re-upload the same data back to Dropbox (I know dropbox keeps file history and restores from hashes, that helps a lot.
    5. Gdrive needs to reupload everything again, everytime, even the same files, with Dropbox if you are uploading a file that is the same, or with some changes, it will check if it ever had the same file before, if yes then it won’t need to reupload, it will use the file from it’s history.

    1. Exact same comment as above, but on a larger scale. After testing on 2 or 3 gigs for about a week, I moved 330GB of company and personal data over to Drive expecting Google to deliver . Took *5 days* to upload. Sync randomly doesn’t work, or will delete files from one location on it’s own and (hopefully) leave a copy somewhere else. Zero trust in their system. I now need to reconcile 330GB / 50,000 files in three different locations and get it all back onto Dropbox (was with them 3 years or so, no problems, excellent speed/reliability). Dealt with Google support and they were no help. Just said to disconnect Drive desktop client, make a new local folder, sign in to desktop client and download everything from the online Drive (they confirmed that it would probably take the same time as when I uploaded – 5 days or “maybe a little faster”), hope I didn’t lose anything, and deal with the duplicate files. Horrible.

  15. Good review,

    To summarize, read Waqas Tariq’s comments…spot on.

    I tried onedrive, dropbox and google drive. hands down winner is Dropbox.
    Google Drive was a nightmare as described by Waqas Tariq and other than Windows and Office I try to stay away from anything Microsoft.

  16. Dropbox is £79 per year for 1TB.
    I can easily buy a hard drive for less and use a ‘PC anywhere’ type software to access my files wherever there is internet, plus I still have it all in a ‘safe’ place, at home or office.

    1. Beware Mike, I thought the same till early this month the cleaning lady at our office dropped my external drive: Headcrash, everything lost. I’m moving to the cloud now…

      1. you’re absolutely right, that was just what i was thinking, at least one copy of the data needs to reside somewhere away from the home or office at a fast and secure external location, away from accidental or natural disasters.

    2. …I agree with that, that is a better idea. From all of what i am hearing on here, it seem this is a far better idea. But one thing though, unless and even if we invest in a top-notch drive it would be better to also store files elsewhere perhaps on one of the clouds – what if the drive fails one day unless of course you have striped RAID disks on the pc

  17. Dropbox is great but my free 5 GB is nearly full. And I’m cheap, so not keen on paying for more when I could go get Google Drive’s 15 free GB. But now it’s well into the second day after setting up Drive’s initial sync and Drive hasn’t even hit the halfway point on the 8,000 or so files I’d like to sync. Looks like time to pony up for Dropbox Pro.

  18. What about the ease of sharing files? Sending links of files to people?
    When you send a link using drive, does the receiving end need a google account to be able to open it?

  19. The size limitation is a problem for me with Dropbox and although I really love dropbox, Dive may be the better candidate for me personally.

    I haven’t had the issues people talk about but I do think the desktop software for dropbox is better and the syncing on desktop is better, but I prefer the mobile version of Drive especially on android devices.

  20. I have dropbox pro because I like it so much. However, I agree that the app for dropbox is less than ideal.

  21. When I upload an excel file in google drive, it automatically converts it to its own format. Say the original excel file was heavy with conditional formatting (icons etc), you wouldn’t really see it any longer when its uploaded.

    If I share this particular file to my co-worker and he/she downloads it in his computer, will the original excel file with all its formatting be back again?

    That’s my concern, if the files are preserved.

    1. Your initial premise is untrue. GDrive creates a copy of a file in its own format when you tell it to open the file in its own suite. Not upon upload. As long as you just use the simple viewer, or just edit files locally, that will never happen.

      But even if it does, it keeps the original. So retrieving that is easy.

  22. GDrive is absolutely NOT reliable. Sync frequently and randomy gets stuck for interminable periods on different machines even after fresh install. i don’t know whether dropbox is better.

  23. Decent analysis, although there should be an entire section dedicated to PHOTOS.

    Many people use Dropbox or GDrive primarily for photo storage.

    In this regard, I find GDrive to be vastly superior, and is pushing me to give dropbox the boot soon, at least for all my photo storage.

  24. File ownership issues, pictures/videos shared between me and my wife, if my wife added those pictures/videos and I deleted those, they would stay on in my wife’s Gdrive but just not show anymore (taking the space).

    The same happened to me. It took me a while to find out why my drive was full.

  25. I find DropBox to be a very good solution for storing and sharing files in my 4 person company.
    Only one thing is a big problem, and DropBox doesn’t seem to deal with it despite numerous of complains:
    Most of our data are shared among all company employees. Sometime we need to share a subdirectory with a customer, and this is simply not possible.

  26. …but what is the “cloud” ? the cloud is a fancy name for a set of computers/file servers in some data centre.

  27. dropbox should offer more paid plans. i have a 200 gb plan with gdrive, but only use it for the more/less static files. the dynamic files i change every day are in dropbox. But dropbox is too expensive for 100 Gb compared too google. But i am willing to spent 50 USD per year on a good dropbox 100gb plan as well, a bit more expensive then google, but faster and more manageable.

  28. GDrive took up my whole day!
    Was trying to upload ~2GB of files. After deleting some files (copied them into a RAR), Sync just got confused. I ended up with one folder moving where it shouldn’t be (beside its parent) and other folders simply not containing all the files. Luckily, the files are still on the web version.
    DO NOT USE GOOGLE DRIVE . I won’t, until Google comes clean and says “WE HAVE HAD A SHITTY PRODUCT WE KNOW AND WE’RE SORRY, BUT NOW WE HAVE FIXED IT”. Will not recommend this shitty non-functioning product to anyone!

  29. I want to move my small consultancy to Google Suite for the cheap tools and high level of integration it offers with everything. However, after trying to move 6 GB of files to Google Drive, it still hadn’t uploaded the whole 6 GB from hard disk after a whole weekend. Dropbox does the task in 15 minutes or so.

    So, I am designing a solution where the main storage/backup tool is Dropbox and only active files are on Google Drive. IFTTT can be used to move new files up to Google Drive from Dropbox.

  30. Great article. I always used Google Drive because of the huge space it gave me, but I noticed that syncing is quite slow. I recently installed Dropbox and it was noticeably quicker.

    I find that if I use KeePass and I re-save my database too quickly (i.e., before my first “save” syncs with Drive), it’ll mess up my database and I’ll have to bring it back using the backup file. It doesn’t happen with Dropbox because it syncs fast.

  31. Photos uploaded to dropbox via smartphone then downloaded to PC are zipped and compressed. A 3.4MB photo becomes 1.7MB. This is a deal killer for me unless I’m missing something.

  32. I have both Dropbox and Google Drive on my computer, I find Dropbox faster than GDrive on sync and upload etc however Dropbox (compared to GDrive) slows my computer speed big time when it is syncing or indexing to the point I have to to pause the sync or index so I can get on with other urgent matters.
    Anybody out there with some advise on this??

  33. I use cloud storage for photos and home videos only.

    Switched from Dropbox to Google Drive because of the better app Google Photo in this regard.

    Loading a photo or a video is more seemless for me with the google app.

    We’ll see about the sync speed if it’s an issue.

    As with dropbox ios app to upload my “camera roll”, it always seemed to stop and time out so It felt like the background uploading was not working properly. So far with google photos, It does not feel like this is a problem.

  34. I’m with Jason. I have both in computer and phone and G drive lacks on syncing. My business partner and I are always having issues with it. When one creates a file in G drive, the other can’t see it right away, or even hours later. If she works on a file and closes it, then I go to the file and it keeps telling me that she’s still there. The solution? She has to turn her computer off so G drive “sees” that she’s not in that file. It’s a nightmare.

  35. Your research feels incredibly biased. Your initial assertions about Dropbox are ridiculous:

    Many consumer complaints – 500+ Million users… what data do you have that shows a higher percentage of user complaints in any way versus Google?

    Terrible rating with BBB – BBB has Dropbox as an A rating… How exactly is this terrible? What is Google Drive’s rating?

    Customer service needs improvement – Granted and happening.

    Concerns about security – What concerns? Dropbox Security is industry leading. There has never been a successful breach of user data. The usernames and passwords were an event, but the passwords were hashed and not meaningful.

    Minor privacy policy concerns (tracking) – Compared to Google, who can mine your data and use it for marketing? Really?

    Based in the U.S. – With data centers around the globe… How is being US based a negative? Google is not?

    “Hostile to privacy“ – This one could not be further from the truth. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published its latest “Who Has Your Back” (WHYB) report. once again, Dropbox is one of the few companies that received a perfect score.

    1. Hi Michael, I suggest that you’ll find precise answers to your questions in our Dropbox review, which is linked at the top of the article. In the interest of helpfulness, however, I’ll go through all your points quickly:
      – Consumer complaints: the web is full of them, but we also used data from the BBB
      – BBB gave Dropbox an F, then put it at unrated, then suddenly raised it to an A, saying the service was working on its problems. We here at CW find this extremely suspicious, though if it proves that consumers are indeed happy with DB we’ll remove both these claims (this will take time)
      – Security: Dropbox is in no way a leader in security and those passwords were not hashed. Though Dropbox has claimed many things concerning their many, many breaches, we have preferred to refer to the work of independent journalists rather than Dropbox press releases
      – Privacy concerns: Dropbox has made clear that they have no issue working with law enforcement and they also leave metadata in plain sight in plain text for all and sundry to see.
      – Based in the US: between spying by the NSA and ISPs, being based in the U.S. is not a good thing
      – Hostile to privacy is a quote from Edward Snowden from an interview he gave with John Oliver

      I hope this answers your concerns and questions, thank you.

  36. Have been using Dropbox for last many years without a single complaint. Tried GD also but due to sync problems, abandoned it forever. Dropbox can be used with third party applications super easily. However, to store photographs, I use Google photos.

  37. Nice and useful article. Thank you. However there is one small deal breaker about google drive. When working on documents that require constant saving, Google Drive locks your files for syncing making it impossible for you to actually save twice in an interval of 20-30 seconds and forcing you to create a indexed version of that file. So for example if I have to make quick reviews on illustrator, ae, photoshop files I get a plethora of locked files and broken links that just make it impossible to work with an active google drive sync on my computer. With Dropbox that does not happen.

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