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 Box.com 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.
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!