Cloud-based storage has come a long way, and most writers use it for backups, storage, and collaborating. I have used both Google Drive, which is now called Google One, and DropBox and have a definite opinion on which one I like better. Let’s look at them, feature by feature*.
First off, how much is all this going to cost me?
Both Google One and DropBox offer free cloud-based storage plans that are reasonably robust and bug free. Google One comes with 15GB of storage while DropBox comes with 2GB.
The step to paid is $1.99/month for 100GB of storage for Google One and $11.99/month for 2 Terabytes (or 2,048 GB) of storage for DropBox Plus ($9.99/month if you pay for one year up front).
What features are offered?
File Syncing: both services will sync your files to your desktop computer, which I use frequently because I’m desktop based. But only Google One offers syncing at with the free version.
But while Dropbox doesn’t offer syncing with the free version, the Dropbox Plus has a very fast and efficient sync called Smart Sync which uses a block-sync that only updates changes. The Google One sync will download and upload the entire document, which is much slower.
Mobile Access: DropBox and Google One both have robust cellphone apps. I find that, not surprisingly, the Google One app works a bit faster on an Android phone than an iPhone.
Collaboration: DropBox free and DropBox Plus make it easy to collaborate on documents, but Google One has access to Google Docs which is a better word processor than Dropbox’s Paper. Google Docs will also now open and edit Microsoft document files.
International Access: I’ve had no problems with any of my international contacts and contractors being able to access either DropBox or Google One. When traveling abroad I’ve never had trouble accessing either account.
But there’s a catch
With the stampede of web hosts to exit the email provider business many business people are moving to GSuite for custom domain name email services. For the $6/month GSuite Basic fee you get one email account plus 30 GB storage along with all the Google One features. While Dropbox offers a free email address you can only use it to send files to your Dropbox account.
The Dropbox free to Dropbox Plus price increase of $11.99 is a very big jump, whereas Google Drive free to $1.99/month is barely noticeable. 2 terabytes of data is a lot of storage that could store roughly 250 full-length movies. I prefer to keep static files like that on an in-office server like the Seagate Portable External 2T Hard Drive ($59.99 on Amazon), but if you’re doing a lot of video work it might be a good option.
In conclusion, unless you have a need for an enormous amount of storage, Google One or GSuite is the most cost effective option.
* As usual, I’m showing my deep antipathy for anything associated with Microsoft by excluding their OneDrive platform from this discussion. If you’re interested, there’s an entire sub-Reddit devoted to OneDrive Sucks.