Sunday 3 March 2013

Cloud Online File Sharing and Storage Comparison: Dropbox vs Google Drive vs Microsoft SkyDrive

Cloud Online File Sharing and Storage Comparison: Dropbox vs Google Drive vs Microsoft SkyDrive

Dropbox has a lot of competitors in the cloud online file sharing and storage market. Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive are proving to be the best alternatives to Dropbox. Although Dropbox is still the king in Cloud Market, both Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive are the tough competitors of Dropbox in many aspects. We will have a small comparison and discussion on "Dropbox vs Google Drive vs Microsoft SkyDrive" to evaluate these three leaders of cloud online file sharing and storage market. Lets start from dropbox:


Dropbox is the best solution for syncing files across multiple devices.

Dropbox allows groups to share files with a couple clicks, and offers few settings for you to mess up. Perhaps the app's greatest strength is the API it's built on, which hundreds of developers have used to create apps that utilize Dropbox. It's right up there with Evernote as the most developer-friendly storage/syncing platforms that apps can leverage to help you access your data everywhere.

But, Dropbox does have some drawbacks:
1. It offers just 2GB of storage for free, and forces you to keep everything you need synced inside of just one folder (though you can pick which folders you want synced within your Dropbox).

2. Extra storage is very expensive — Dropbox offers 100GB of storage for $19.99/month, while Google Drive offers the same amount of storage for $4.99/month.

Additionally, it would be pretty futile to try to use Dropbox as a complete backup tool because it would mean that you've have to store everything you want to back up inside your Dropbox folder. Dropbox is ultra-reliable and plugged in to all your favorite apps, but doesn't offer a ton of options. Pricing: 50GB for $9.99/month ($99.99/year); 100GB for $19.99/month ($199.99/year).

Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive as Alternatives to Dropbox

Google Drive:

Google Drive lets you sync multiple folders, collaborate with friends, and stream data to your mobile device. Google drive is full of many attractive features like:

1. Google Drive can open up to 30 kinds of files right inside your browser. Dropbox and a few others open files inside a "web gallery," but Google Drive opens Photoshop files — even if you don't have Photoshop on your computer. To this extent, Google Drive creates a QuickLook-esque experience inside your web browser that makes it much easier to thumb through files. Google Drive also includes an option to turn on OCR text scanning, which means that when you upload images to Google Drive, Google will scan the images for text and make them searchable.

2. Google Drive offers the same drag-and-drop syncing as Dropbox, and lets you pick which folders inside Drive you want to sync from within the desktop app. Also like Dropbox, you cannot pick other folders on your computer to sync to Drive. In this way, Drive's real strengths lie on the web. It'll also tie right in to Google+, Gmail, Android, and other Google services that will let you drop-in or upload files (almost like you might with attachments inside Sparrow for Mac, which can instantly upload attachments to CloudApp). Additionally, Drive features a built-in document editor on par with Microsoft's online Office suite that's part of SkyDrive. You can't yet use Drive with multiple Google accounts, which is a pain, but we'd expect that feature in due time.

3. Google Drive launches on the web, for Mac, Windows, and Android devices with iOS support. The Android app (which replaces Google Docs) won't stream your content, however, unlike some competitors like Dropbox and SugarSync. Drive comes with 5GB of storage free, with generous upgrade options.

Microsoft SkyDrive

SkyDrive is Microsoft's syncing solution, and it works very smoothly. SkyDrive starts things off right by offering 7GB of free storage, which is best in class. If you move quickly (and have used SkyDrive before), you can quickly nab 25GB of total free storage space.

SkyDrive really excels at syncing documents created using OneNote and other Microsoft Office products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. SkyDrive creates an experience akin to iCloud, but for Microsoft products — except you can also edit documents in groups like you can with Box or Dropbox. And like with Drive (and Google Docs), you can edit (and create) documents for free within your browser.

SkyDrive also lets you share public links, view-only private links, and view/edit private links, which is nice to have. SkyDrive makes for an extremely well-rounded entry — especially if you forgot to sync something with it. If your home PC is turned on, you can still access all your files using SkyDrive's "Fetch" feature.

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