Dropbox vs Drive

Is Dropbox a falling star? The benefit of it was simple, it was FREE and much harder to lose than a flashdrive. It also allowed selective sharing. The downside is that it took effort to share things and was stingy with it’s storage as per the freemium business model. I for one found it’s endless resource hogging on my Mac Air a pain as it endlessly gobbled down bandwith. The secondary issue being the pathetic upload data rates in Australia …

Now Google Drive seems somewhat more useful these days. Finally they’ve got over their hate of folders. We can now dump tons of stuff in there … and connect it to our workflows. In fact, what I’ve noticed among the cool kids, is a shift to use Drive (and nested docs) in preference to Dropbox. It’s perhaps due to one thing – the ability to inherit permissions and thus make sharing both collaborative and closed documents with a knowledge network easier than ever – for those of us who are interested in using technology to drive a process, not simply read email or photograph our lunch.


4 thoughts on “Dropbox vs Drive

  1. I use Dropbox’s Camera Upload function where it auto-uploads the pictures I take to Dropbox. Google Drive has a similar function called Instant Upload where it uploads photos to a prive Google+ Photos album, but it does not (from what I can tell) add that photo file to your desktop.

    Adding the file to my desktop is essential for me. I want a “hard copy” of it so I can do other stuff with it — share to Flickr, share on Twitter, etc. — that requires another step with Drive.

    That’s about all I use Dropbox for anymore, but it’s a slick enough feature to keep using it.

  2. Thanks for this Dean. I use both services, I like them both, and I’d just add the following thoughts…

    Dropbox still seems to have the greatest compatibility with other services especially with regard to apps on tablets. Adding storage via the Dropbox API must be pretty straightforward to build, because it seems to be a pretty common thing for app developers to include as a feature in their apps. The more apps that are capable of using Dropbox as backend storage, the more useful the service becomes across the board.

    I agree that 2GB is pretty meagre, but they have a pretty good referral system, so if you tell a few friends about it you can add to your storage limit pretty easily. I think I’ve got about 20GB at the moment, all for free. If you go to http://www.dropbox.com.edu and confirm a .edu email account, they will double whatever referral storage space you have. Nice.

    I do like the way Google Drive integrates with my Google stuff, although because I live in three Google accounts (my vanilla Gmail account, my school Google Apps for Edu account, and another Google Apps for Business account that I use for testing things) I do find it a little annoying that these are are seen as separate spaces. The Google Drive client (which, for the Mac, has really only just started working reliably for me as of the latest update, before that it crashed regularly) can only see one Drive account at a time, so I sign into my Gmail’s Drive account on my personal machines, and I sign into my school Apps Drive account on my work machines, which means that I can’t easily drop a file into Drive on my personal laptop, and pick it up on my school desktop… they are looking at two different Drives. There are workaround of course, but it is an advantage for Dropbox in the way it’s account agnostic and available to all devices.

    The annoyance is even more obvious on an iPad, as the Drive app can only be signed into one Drive account at a time, unlike the Drive app on Android which can sign into multiple Drives simultaneously. This means if someone shares a school-based Apps doc with me and I open it on the iPad, I can’t open it in Drive without signing out of my Gmail Drive and signing in with my Apps Drive… The constant switching does get tiresome after a while. Android handles this much better, but the point is that Dropbox avoids this problem altogether.

    For now anyway, I’m still using both.

    • Thanks Chris, I guess I was being a bit binary … My work uses Gmail and staff don’t have access to GDrive services at all, so yep, the switching accounts becomes a bit of a pain, and certainly Dropbox has been adopted faster a) because it can be constant and b) because Drive is unknown.

      I guess where people once have ‘life-coaches’ today they kind of need ‘process-coaches’ to they can learn how to organise their workflows. Thanks for taking the time to write such a comprehensive comment

  3. I love Dropbox’s functionality and the way it is expanding with time. What’s more amazing is that Dropbox brings forth new integrations and features each day which has made the whole service quite dynamic. Integration with GroupDocs is also part of this compaign which allows users to access files from their Dropbox account and vice versa. Moreover, you can annotate and sign your documents in a secure manner with GroupDocs apps and save it directly to Dropbox. For more information on the security aspects of this solution, read:


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