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Online file storage systems simplify file sharing, storage, access and protection across multiple platforms. Decades ago, compact discs and floppy disks were essential; nevertheless, remote backup service changed the way professionals handle these files, forever!
Two services stand out when it comes to online storage – Dropbox and Google Drive. Both offer cutting-edge services, benefiting in-house and remote professionals worldwide. While there are others (Box.net, SkyDrive), these two are arguably capturing the hearts and minds of users around the world.
Dropbox, a relatively small company, has more than 50 million users and a smooth service offering when it comes to remote backup (and syncing large amounts of data).
On the other hand, Google, a well-known search engine giant, ventured into the storage world and launched its own product featuring the best features of the original Google Docs. It integrates well with other Google products and is available immediately to users who already have a Gmail email address.
Weighing the Features
Dropbox and Google Drive offer the same basic features. Both services provide file synchronization and back up of items in a single location server that can be accessed across multiple platforms using cloud storage. Users are required to install the background application in their desktop or PC.
Dropbox supports Mac and goes all the way back to Mac OS (10.4 Tiger) through (10.7). Google Drive only supports Mac OS X (10.6 Snow Leopard) and (10.7 Lion).
Both services support Windows operating system. Google Drive is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7. Strangely, it doesn’t support Linux yet. Dropbox also handles the Windows versions, Windows 2003 and two popular versions of Linux, Ubuntu and Fedora Core.
When it comes to online storage capacity, Google outstrips Dropbox with a free 5GB file allocation. Dropbox offers a free 2GB only, but there’s a nifty countermove for users who take advantage of its new image upload feature. They are entitled to an additional 500MB for the initial photos uploaded, and up to a 3GB allocation (total of 5GB). Dropbox adds 500MB for each referred account that avails either free of paid service. Combined photo upload feature and referral accounts maxes out at 18GB of storage. (Free 2GB and 16GB added)
Google Drive is an evolution of its Google Docs web apps, which makes it more convenient not just for file sharing but also for users to preview and edit them. Several types of files such as PDF, MS Office formats, plaint text and HTML are viewable.
Dropbox doesn’t preview or allow file editing. A file downloads automatically once the user click the link.
Both services require collaborative sharing from users, which makes the web view functional for professionals who need to access files remotely.
Google Drive has a new iOS version alongside the existing Android app. Dropbox has been there for quite sometime and has long offered an iOS app, Android and Blackberry versions. Both mobile apps can view formats like the Word and PDF.
Dropbox outnumbers Google Drive when it comes to iOS app, which allows the display of photo gallery, simple tap for local storage and a single screen Open In option, uploading photos and videos from an iPhone.
The Final Verdict
Google Drive has three advantages over Dropbox with a wide variety of sharing options, online editing through Google Docs and lower pricing plans.
But when it comes to core syncing and file control across multiple platforms, Dropbox is still the champion.