Google Drive Doesn’t Compare to Dropbox

**Edit – June 2015 – I have changed my mind on Dropbox and Google Drive and currently am using both for various reasons. I love how seamlessly Google Drive works with Gmail for sending files and add in the functionality of Google Docs, it’s a great product. BUT, I also love Dropbox. I basically use Dropbox similar to a backup, so not only do I have my Desktop PC, but I have my entire Dropbox (about 200GB) synced with my Laptop using Dropbox.

Between the 2, I currently have about 1.2 Terabytes of storage which is great!

**Edit – August 1, 2012 – See comment reader below.  Apparently Google Drive does sync actual files, and not just create hyperlinks.  Here’s a Google help article on how to setup offline access.  This option, which I was unable to find before would make Google Drive a real contender because it is less expensive than Dropbox.

For anyone that has a computer and valuable files that need to be backed up, online storage has become a vital part of our digital life.  Beyond that, for our mobile workforce and self employed individuals, having files available at your fingertips and on any connected device is important.

Looking at Dropbox and Google Drive, I have to say…Google Drive doesn’t compare to Dropbox.

Sorry Google.

When Google Drive was first introduced several weeks back, I looked at what they were offering in terms of storage space and thought to myself…”Dropbox is in trouble!”

Like any tech geek does, I quickly signed up for a Google Drive account and gave it a try.  Thinking that I would love it right away, I even signed up for the 25GB package that they were offering for only $5 per month.  I set Google Drive up on my laptop and went about uploading about 15GB of files, thinking it would work similar to Dropbox.

I love Dropbox because I have 2 computers, plus an Android device or two and I like that I can easily access my files on any device, edit he files and they’re always in sync.  It’s a “set it and forget it” solution for storing and sharing my files between devices.

To my disappointment I quickly learned that Google Drive had a few very important deficiencies.

1.  Google Drive files were only stored “in the cloud.” They didn’t actually reside on your computer.  Just like Dropbox, a Google Drive folder is created on your computer.  It appears that all your files are stored in that folder and would sync to your online Google Drive account, but it doesn’t work that way.  All those files in your Google Drive account are simply shortcuts to the online file.   What does that mean?  When you aren’t connected to the internet, you don’t have any access to the files!  That’s important.  No spreadsheets, no Word documents…they’re only online.

2.  Google Drive seemed to be forever uploading/indexing.  Even after the initial sync of the files, it never really seemed to finish and it was slowing my computer down.  It was annoying…

Those were the two main issues that I found with Google Drive and why I kept my 50GB $9.99/mth Dropbox account.  Thankfully Dropbox did respond the the increased competition and recently increased the storage space for my $10/mth investment and now I have over 100GB as I have also had a few Dropbox referrals.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out Dropbox for your online storage needs.  It’s fantastic…and no, they didn’t pay me to say that!


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6 Responses to “Google Drive Doesn’t Compare to Dropbox”

  • Thanks John. I made an edit to the article above.

    12 years ago Reply
  • John A

    Thanks for clarification. I’ve tried out the Windows google drive app and it downloads and synchronises the files and those files are not just links.

    12 years ago Reply
    • I would be interested to learn more. Can you open the files in your Google Drive desktop app, in MS Word or Excel? Mine just take me to Google Drive and Google Docs, which is irritating.

      12 years ago Reply
      • John A

        Existing Office files stored in Google Docs are held in Google Doc format and this is the version that allows fast online access via web browser and collaboration (e.g. multiple people editing the same spreadsheet at the same time).

        However you can change the settings to store Office files subsequently dragged and dropped into the google drive web page in the original unchanged Microsoft document format i.e. no conversion.

        After doing that I dragged and dropped a word document into the google drive web page. It then appeared in my ‘Google Drive’ folder under My Documents and i could open it with Office.

        Office files added to the ‘Google Drive’ folder on the desktop are all stored in Microsoft file format and appear as ‘W’ documents on the Google Drive web page (and as far as i can see irrespective of the upload settings).

        12 years ago Reply
  • Thanks for pointing that out. I changed point 2 to “indexing/uploading” since they certainly don’t “sync” in the traditional manner like Dropbox where the file can be found online and on the desktop. The desktop items are just shortcuts.

    12 years ago Reply
  • John A

    In point 1 you say there is no synchronisation. In point 2 you say the synchronisation is slow. Which is it?

    12 years ago Reply