Google Drive vs Dropbox, Amazon, or Microsoft Sky Drive for Cloud Storage?

Google Drive Storage

There was some great news from Google this week concerning cloud storage, and while it isn’t up to what I want in replacing your hard drive, Google Drive is a great step forward in drive cloud storage with 5GB free, and apparently I’m grandfathered in to my 20GB $5/year plan (see screenshot below). Finally Google put some effort into developing something we can truly use instead of trying to beat Facebook or Twitter at social networking. Eventually, this type of storage is going to do away with our need to keep purchasing more and more hard drives to store our files with only a small flash drive needed on the system for the OS. I have almost 8TB’s of data stored on local hard drives at this point, so this lousy 5GB of storage won’t help that, but it’s a start.

If you aren’t familiar with using cloud storage, until now, there was really only one real option, and that was Dropbox. Yes there are those like and Amazon Cloud Drive (provide 5 GB), and Microsoft’s SkyDrive (offers 25 GB) who just made some nice improvements this week, probably in anticipation of the release of Google Drive. Each of those have some significant disadvantages, and I don’t ever really consider them to be viable options because of their limitations or issues. Apple’s iCloud is great for backing up devices, but it doesn’t even offer an option for drive storage in the cloud. While I love Dropbox, the basic computer user still isn’t really familiar with Dropbox, and they are with Google. That doesn’t make Google better than Dropbox, but it does make Google Drive easier to integrate with your friends or family to share files. So which one is better, Google Drive or Dropbox? There services seem to be almost identical, but Google has some significant advantages over Dropbox.

Google Drive Storage 20GB $5 year

The biggest news, at least to me, about the Google Drive launch in the fact that they are going to allow you to keep up to 100GB of data stored for a reasonable price of $5.99, it’s just too bad once you get above that, it’s outrageous, but that too will change. This is great on multiple levels, and something probably only Google could do with some massive data centers that companies like Dropbox, and perhaps even Microsoft, just don’t have. When you are looking at possible server farm potential for cloud storage, the biggest possibilities right now are Google, Amazon, and of course Apple who just built a massive cloud server farm in North Carolina, which is even visible from space now. All of this is good for those who want all files stored in the cloud instead of on local home hard drives that fail.

Advantages and Disadvantages in Google Drive vs Dropbox

  • More storage – 5GB of Storage on Google compared to 2GB on Dropbox (you can gain more on Dropbox)
  • Blanket Existing Coverage  – most of us already use Google for just about everything from email to Internet searches
  • Google Recognition – sometimes this is negative, but in this case, everyone has heard of Google, tech-nerds know Dropbox
  • Integration and Development in OS – both have ability to run within MAC OS-X or Windows but Google has greater development potential. The biggest plus here is with Google Docs and other Google products.
  • Automatic Syncing – both have this as well, that’s the point of cloud storage
  • Works with iOS and Android – both have this too (Google Drive says coming soon on iOS), but the Dropbox versions could use some better features, hopefully Google will do this
  • Backup – this is a big question for me, what happens with my account and my files if the company goes Chapter 11. Google has less chance to do this.
  • Potential Increases in Storage – Google is known for increasing storage size constantly, and to me, the more storage the better
  • Integration with Google Apps – Not sure how soon this is on their radar, but at work we use a Google App account
  • No URL Links – Dropbox just released this feature this week, a feature that lets you have a unique URL for each file. I see no mention about this in the Google Drive information but it has to be in the works, they couldn’t have just overlooked this feature. For now, I only see this available on Dropbox.

For now we all have to wait until Google actually rolls it out instead of just giving us the information, and of course, they developed the Android OS before the iOS, so us Apple iPhone and iPad users will have to wait even longer. Still, it’s a step in the right cloud storage direction!

Timesnapper Can Assist Your Blogging

I don’t usually promote or recommend a specific product or service, but in this case, I wanted to post a quick note about Timesnapper. [authors note: this is not a paid review or promotion]

If you are not familiar with Timesnapper it is a method of recording what is shown on your screen, and the programs used throughout the day. I found it last year when looking for a program that would record keystrokes and found this program (I have yet to find the other).

There are three main features of this program that I like and use all the time, but this is not an exhaustive list, just my top three. (1) Screen Shots, (2) Productivity, and (3) Movie Play. One I didn’t list because I haven’t put it into use yet is the time card feature. This one I would like to use and would be quite helpful, I just haven’t set it up yet.

Screen Shots Will Save You Time

The first time I had to actually go back and find a screen shot I was thrilled. Since then, every time I managed to have a program crash or loose some text that I spent the last 15 minutes writing (and apparently not saved), I know I can go back and find the screen shot and my text will be shown where I can at least recreate the lost material.

File Folders for Screenshots on Timesnapper

This one feature is enough for me to recommend this program, since there are those of us who are saving impaired and can’t seem to remember to save our work, it has saved me from having to completed start over again. Of course you can’t copy and paste text, but it is enough to remember the context and re-write something if you need to do so.

You can set the screen shot interval and the space that it takes up on your hard drive. The shorter the interval the less days you can save (or the more space you take up), but, to counteract the file size requirements they give you several options. You can control the screen size in a percentage value, and also the file type it saves as. Use a .png file for the smallest file with the best resolution. You can also set the program to only take screen shots when the computer is actively being used.


Productivity Tool

This is a neat feature that allows you to see what programs you have used, and what percentage of the time you use them. You can see from my image below, I guess I spend most of my days using Firefox, but you can see an extended list beyond what is shown below. You would be surprised at how many programs you might use throughout the day or week.

timesnapper productivity tool

Play it Like a Movie

This feature allows you to see your day like you are watching a movie. Sounds kind of weird but you can set the time in milliseconds to show each screen shot taken throughout the day. You can also go back through the archives and show the previous day, or week.

timesnapper movie play

Customer Service

One thing I have to say about this company is that the customer service is outstanding. They will even give you a free license to use the program if you find a bug or error in the program itself. They are fast to respond to emails, and quick to give you support that is not just a standard statement emailed to everyone, they actually read their emails, amazing.


All in all I think it is a great program, the price is perfect, and the customer service is what I would hope for but rarely receive. The best thing… it saves time. How does it help with blogging? Have you ever written a great post out in the editor more than once because either WordPress or the program you were using (probably Live Writer) crashed? No, well, that’s great, guess I am the only one?

Other Related Blog Posts

After I wrote this review I did find several other blog articles on Timesnapper which talks about all the various aspects of its use. Some of note are:

One thing I learned from these other posts is the report called activity cloud. That is really cool and works like a tag cloud on a blog, but for your own computer. Kind of scary too!

Update 04/22/2008

I just got word from the Timesnapper guys that you can actually extract text using the optical character recognition tool that is embedded into the program.  WOW, great going guys, can’t wait to see what’s next.