Check out an alternative opinion: Why You Should Move from Dropbox to SkyDrive Pro
The day Google released their desktop sync app for Google Drive I knew it was a ‘Dropbox killer’. I still use my Dropbox for some personal files while I wait for my yearly subscription to expire – however I’ll be re-thinking the service when it’s up for renewal.
Here are 5 reasons why I prefer to Google Drive to Dropbox.
1. Best choice for Google Apps/Gmail users
Google Drive obviously makes the most sense if you’re already using Gmail or Google Apps. At first I used Google Drive to store Google documents and Dropbox for all my Microsoft Office documents. But some time ago Google added the ability to store any type of file on Google Drive, not just Google Docs, Google Spreadsheet and Google Slide files.
Now you can keep them all on the one service and access them for the handy Google Drive applications for iOS and Android devices.
2. Better for collaborating on documents
I’m an avid user of Google Docs and I’ve been slowly replacing the need to use Microsoft Office on my main PC. The main reason I prefer working with Google Docs is that multiple people can edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations at the same time, as well as being able to easily collaborate live from any device (such as my iPad).
Using Google Drive as part of the Google Apps/Gmail ecosystem makes multi-user editing much easier and doesn’t require you to wait for documents to sync before making changes. Dropbox doesn’t let two people work on a document at the same time – synchronisation conflicts often occur with documents shared by teams.
If you’re cost-conscious you’ll be happy to know that Google Drive is more affordable than Dropbox for individual data storage. Google Drive offers 25GB of storage for just $2.49/month and 100GB for $4.99 per month. Dropbox has a free 2GB plan, but if you’re using more than that the minimum plan is 100GB at $9.95/mth.
Dropbox and Google Apps use encryption to protect your data, and both also have provisions for two-factor authentication, which adds a second password for each computing device. Where Google Drive stands out is when managing large teams of over 10 staff who are using Google Apps.
Since Google Drive accounts are tied to each user account in Google Apps, there is one less online identity login to manage. Managing Dropbox accounts across large teams adds administrative overhead such as resetting forgotten passwords.
Google Apps includes sophisticated group-level permissions covering Gmail, Calendars, Drive and Docs, allowing you to organise your team into groups. Adding or removing a team member to a Google Apps group will automatically grant them access to any documents and folders shared with that group in Google Drive. This can save time when onboarding new staff.
Dropbox for Teams allows you to configure groups and group permissions, however you are tasked with manually managing a disparate set of group permissions for your business which can quickly get out of sync with the groups you have set up in Google Apps or alternative productivity suites.
Google lets developers create applications that can integrate with Google Drive and enhance its appeal and functionality. For example, you can use Google Drive to save flowchart and mindmap documents created with Lucidchart.com directly to Google Drive folders.
Another great integration is CloudHQ which lets you see your Dropbox files and Evernote notes in your Google Drive. You can synchronise the data two ways – adding or deleting files in Dropbox, Evernote or Google Drive will add or remove them in the other two apps, so you can access all your data from one location. This is a great option for anyone who has made the switch to Google Drive and is still sharing data with others using Dropbox.
Since I’ve moved away from Dropbox to Google Drive for primary file storage I have saved money and enjoyed the benefits of a file storage solution more tightly integrated with our favourite email and collaboration platform, Google Apps.
Peter is the Director of itGenius Australia and is an expert in Small Business Cloud Computing. He has been ranked as one of Australia’s top 10 entrepreneurs under 30.
Image credit: Google Drive