Monthly Archives: August 2012

Dropbox vs. Google Drive

Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide – Napoleon Bonaparte

As I wrote in a previous post, I am a happy user of Dropbox long since. I used it as an aligner of directories among my different PCs,  as well as an intelligent (one-month) versioned backup.

I have long been using Google Docs, as a powerful means to share documents and work on them together with some friends or colleague. But while Dropbox merges seamlessly with a traditional approach to documents,  smoothly adding a persistence management, Google Docs is really innovative, and somehow breaks your usual way of working. So, when Google delivered Google Drive (GDr), a clear attempt to enter this segment of services, I was interested in it.

An important note is about Google Docs (texts, spreadsheets, …). I put it this way: Google Docs are just documents based on a new document format. It is proprietary, non-standardized and accessible only through its site. Those are not good credentials for my  judgement. But for the environment they live, they are very useful, anyway.

So now I must decide how to behave with my beloved files: Dropbox or GDr? I have set a table with _my_ main decision criteria:

feature

Dropbox

Google Drive

versioning x (1 month) x (just for Google Docs)
bin x (1 month) x
search engine a simple one Google (!)
Windows and Mac clients x x
Linux client x
synchronized folders and files selection x x
picture and pdf online reading x x
OCR service x
document thumbnails x
online collaboration (document editing sharing, chat) x
LAN syncing x
syncing notification very good less good
free ways
to increase space
Referrals, up to 16GB
security level (in my case and my opinion) enough enough
files grouping physical (directories) logical (tagging and directories)
Online editing
Google Docs documents x
non-Google Docs documents
pure text documents x, with 3-rd party app
Local editing
Google Docs documents
non-Google Docs documents x x
pure text documents x x, with 3-rd party app

As you can see, in my list of criteria I ignored space cost issues, because for my uses the available space is enough for Dropbox, and the cost of 5 $/y for 20 GB in GD is negligible.

So, at the end of the day, the only heavy thing dividing the opponents is IMHO the presence of a tremendously collaborative environment in GDr, but only for Google Docs documents.

So, in my case, given my solid Dropbox file base,  a possible line guide could be still using it for standard documents, and making use of Google Docs only when needing a collaborative environment.

I must agree with many affirming in this case Google (especially thinking  they were starting from a great tool like Google Docs) has offered too little, too late.