Dropbox vs Google Drive has been a heated debate for the longest time. Both the platforms are so popular that most people have used them once at least, right? What makes the users stick to one and leave the other is still a mystery. I decided to give it a shot and settle this argument once and for all. Of course, I have taken up an impossible task but nonetheless an interesting one.
This article was last updated on 25 September 2023
So Let’s Start – What is Dropbox and Google Drive?
Both Google Drive and Dropbox are the esteemed contributors in the cloud storage market. The primary objective of both the service provider is to make the data synchronization easier and to make data accessible and available all the time. Before I get to the Google Drive and Dropbox comparison, let’s introduce both the cloud storage service providers first.
Dropbox entered the market in 2007 when two students Arash Ferdowsi and Drew Houston created a software to share and access files and folders quickly without using the email during their university time. The software was an instant hit, and the whole university started using it. Dropbox now has more than 500 million active users who regularly store and share data with others. The major reason for Dropbox’s popularity is its ease of use and robust performance. Dropbox offers 2 GB free account which can be upgraded to a paid account for more storage space. Dropbox is still considered an industry leader in cloud storage market despite the extreme competition.
Google Drive was introduced in the market in 2012. Google took its time to go public with Google Drive just to ensure its security features are up for the task. Since Google Drive uses the same Google address that’s used to access all other Google apps, the risks were too many. Google Drive was supposed to be more than a cloud storage provider. It succeeded in becoming a complete solution for a virtual working environment where teams can work simultaneously on a document from different corners of the world. The ability to create, share, edit, comment and review documents online with other people has put Google Drive in a unique position. There are plenty of cloud storage providers out there, but nobody can do what Google Drive has managed to achieve.
Difference between Dropbox and Google Drive
In general, both Dropbox and Google Drive have lookalike features; however, certain points make the two service providers different from each other. It includes the support of files, storage space, pricing, file versioning and some other features. We will discuss each one of them in detail to get a clear picture.
10 Deciding Factors to Settle The Dropbox VS Google Drive Battle
The best way to settle this debate is by comparing Google Drive and Dropbox against each other on ten tough deciding factors. So the process that has been followed here is to present each one separately for every factor and then see which one is the winner. In the end, whichever service provider wins the most factor is ultimately the champion. Let’s do this;
1. Dropbox Pricing VS Google Drive Pricing
- Basic free account – storage space = 2 GB
- Pro account for $8.25 per month – storage space = 1TB
- Business account for $10 per month per user – storage space = unlimited
- Enterprise account can be availed upon request – storage space = unlimited
- Basic free account – storage space = 15 GB
- Individual account for $1.99 – storage space = 100 GB
- Individual account for $9.99 – storage space = 1 TB
- Individual account for $99.99 – storage space = 10 TB
- Individual account for $199.99 – storage space = 20 TB
- Individual account for $299.99 – storage space = 30 TB
- G Suite Basic for $5/user/month or $50/user/year – storage space = unlimited
- G Suite Business for $10 per user – storage space = unlimited
Dropbox VS Google Drive (Pricing): Editor’s Review
You can see the pricing plans for both service providers in the above chart. Of course, pricing plans are very competitive to decide which is lighter for your budget. However, I have derived a few conclusions after considering different pricing packages offered by both contenders here.
- The free account winner is for sure Google Drive as it offers 15 GB as compared to Dropbox’s 2 GB.
- While Google Drive offers you a 100 GB account for $1.99 only, Dropbox doesn’t cater to users who need this much storage space.
- Dropbox is cheaper if you wish to buy an account of 1 TB for a monthly payment (Dropbox=$8.25, Google Drive = $ 9.99).
- Google Drive believes in giving many options to individual customers as it has multiple individual accounts for different pricing and storage space whereas Dropbox is very limited in its offering.
Businesses accounts are also better at Google Drive. There is a 50% difference in pricing for business plans between the two. Dropbox offers $10/user/month while Google Drive offers $5/user/month.
Based on the aforementioned observations and pricing plans, it is a no-brainer that Google Drive is a clear winner in the pricing department. Dropbox needs to work on bringing more pricing options and reduce the price tag just a notch.
Verdict of Dropbox Pricing VS Google Drive – Google Drive is the Winner.
2. Google Drive Storage VS Dropbox
Although I have touched upon the storage aspect in the pricing details it is important to talk about it separately because storage is a big deciding factor in any cloud storage service provider. For storage, I will focus on three factors only – free account, 1 TB account, and basic business account.
- Free account: Google Drive offers 15 GB
- 1 TB account: Google Drive charges $9.99
- Basic business account: Google Drive offers $5/user/month
- Free account: Dropbox offers 2 GB
- 1 TB account: Dropbox charges $8.25
- Basic business account: Dropbox offers $10/user/month
Google Drive VS Dropbox (Storage): Editor’s Review
Out of these three, it is clear that Google Drive has a better free account and basic business package, but Dropbox is cheaper to buy 1 TB account. Although both are missing unlimited storage for individual customers. Of course, Google Drive is a winner here by scoring better in two aspects than Dropbox.
Verdict of Google Drive Storage VS Dropbox – Google Drive is the Winner.
3. Google Drive VS Dropbox Security
Security is for sure a point of concern for most users because, in a way, you are trusting a third party with your personal data. The service providers may not be capable enough for the task. However, considering the fact that Google Drive and Dropbox has millions of users, they are definitely doing something right to gain the trust of so many people. Both these parties provide two-step verification login and strong encryption options. However, they both are accused of not providing enough measures for free accounts. Also, Dropbox and Google Drive has had their fair share of security mishaps to be considered foolproof by anyone. Also, Dropbox and Google Drive will collaborate with authorities once they present a legit court order and snoop on your data and give away anything they find suspicious.
Who can forget the famous Dropbox blunder where any account was accessible using any password. The glitch lasted for 4 hours and did enough damage. Although the Dropbox team got hold of the problem and fixed it, but it definitely raised questions about Dropbox’s security. In another incident, a hacker once got a hand on a list of user email addresses via a hacked Dropbox employee account. The email addresses were then spammed with irrelevant emails. These incidents are quite scary and make you question your decision about using this service provider.
Google Drive itself has not faced any hacking incidents, but a single Google account is used for all Google apps, which makes the Google Drive vulnerable. Gmail accounts get hacked all the time because users don’t use strong passwords or they use the same password for everything. So the inherent nature of Google Drive makes it weak and a target of security breach or mishap.
Google Drive vs Dropbox Security: Editor’s Review
The above discussion is evident to my dissatisfaction on security measures taken by Google Drive and Dropbox. Although Dropbox has more hacking incidents but Google Drive is weakened by single id for all Google apps. Both service providers need to improve their security procedures to win customers’ trust.
Verdict of Google Drive vs Dropbox (Security) – Both Win.
4. Dropbox Speed vs Google Drive Speed
No matter how cheap a service provider is, it has to be exceptional when it comes to speed. What’s the point of going for cloud storage when it takes ages to upload and download files and folders? Well, it is a crucial factor, and that’s why we decided to conduct an experiment. Of course, there is no way I can prove the experiment, so you have to take my word for it. Although I would advise you to conduct a mini experiment yourself.
I took a folder of 42 MB with 350 image files in it and tried to upload it to Google Drive and Dropbox separately. I have shared my experience with each one here;
- Dropbox was rather quick and took around 3 minutes to upload the files.
- Google Drive wasn’t impressive at all. It took too much time. Also, Google Drive had a problem with uploading all 350 images and suggested to upload only 346 files.
Google Drive vs Dropbox (Speed): Editor’s Review
Google Drive was disappointing, to say the least. Dropbox rules heart with its rapid uploading speed. I don’t need to say more.
Verdict of Dropbox Speed VS Google Drive Speed – Dropbox is the winner.
5. Google Drive VS Dropbox Sync Feature (Desktop)
The basic reason you got a cloud storage was to have all your important stuff with you on all the devices. Interestingly, Google Drive and Dropbox works in a similar manner when it comes to a sync feature.
You have to download the Dropbox client first and log in with your details. Then you will have a Dropbox folder on your PC. Whatever you put into it will be synced all across the connected devices. There will be an icon in the taskbar that will show you the status of the sync.
Google Drive also functions in a similar manner. You will download the client and log in. There will be a Google Drive folder, and anything in the folder will be automatically synced. Google Drive also shows the status of the sync via an icon on the taskbar.
Dropbox Vs Google Drive (Sync Feature): Editor’s Review
Well, there is nothing one is offering more than the other. They both function in a similar manner. So it will be hard to choose the winner. I think it is a draw.
Verdict of Dropbox vs Google Drive (Sync Feature) – it is a draw.
6. Dropbox vs Google Drive Sharing Files/Folders With Others
Cloud has made life easier by allowing us to share files and folders by just sending out a link to many people at a time. Dropbox and Google Drive are apt in sharing files. You can only share files/folders by signing into the web version of the service provider. There is no way to share a file with your colleagues directly from the desktop app.
Dropbox lets you share files and folders with others. People don’t need to have a Dropbox to see the shared link. If the photos are shared, then they can be viewed directly on Dropbox, but if it is a document, then the viewer can download the document to his or her PC.
Google Drive allows you to share files and folders with others. You have to write their email addresses in the Drive’s share box. Again, the person doesn’t have to be a Google Drive account holder to view the files. The shared photos are a bit complicated at Google Drive as one can only see the thumbnails. Google Drive has the edge over Dropbox in terms of shared documents as they can be edited, reviewed or downloaded whereas Dropbox only gives the option to download.
Google Drive Vs Dropbox (Sharing Files/Folders with Others): Editor’s Review
Both functions in a similar way more or less but Dropbox has an advantage of better image sharing while Google Drive is good at giving multiple options in shared documents. I personally feel the benefit of editing a document in real time is a huge plus. So of course, Google Drive takes the lead here.
Google Drive vs Dropbox (Sharing Files/Folders with Others) – Google Drive is the winner.
7. Google Drive vs Dropbox Web Interface
People don’t talk enough about the web presence of Google Drive and Dropbox. It tells a lot about a service provider and how it chooses to interact with the users. I find it very important that your cloud storage service should be sleek, clean and has every option available to you readily.
Dropbox is super neat and clean. It has everything in the right place. You can see your files clearly. It is easy to navigate. More importantly, the service provider is very fast. It loads items immediately.
Google Drive is good but seems a bit cluttered at times. It has definitely come a long way because its earlier interface wasn’t pretty at all. Although it takes a little bit more time to load a file, especially if it is heavy.
Dropbox vs Google Drive (Web Interface): Editor’s Review
To be honest, this factor may not seem important to you, but it matters when you are comparing two service providers in detail. For me, the winner is Dropbox. I love the way it presents itself on the web and mobile apps.
Dropbox vs Google Drive (Web Interface) – Dropbox is the winner.
Dropbox vs Google Drive Compatibility
There isn’t much to tell in the compatibility department. Dropbox and Google Drive are compatible with most of the operating system and devices. They are compatible with;
- Windows Mobile
Dropbox vs Google Drive (Compatibility): Editor’s Review
Since both the platforms are neck to neck, I would call it a draw. It is the second time these service providers have been equivalent after the sync feature.
Dropbox Vs Google Drive (Compatibility): Both win.
9. Google Drive vs Dropbox Customer Support
There are multiple ways of providing customer support and whoever gives more options is considered better. Let’s find out what Dropbox and Google Drive has to offer in customer support;
Dropbox has forums, website, email support, FAQs, knowledge base, and video tutorials. It is a lot, but Dropbox is still missing important mediums like live chat and phone assistance.
Google Drive goes all in and provides phone support, live chat, forum, website, tutorials, FAQs and knowledge base. I think phone assistance and live chat is crucial when you are stuck and needs somebody to give you exact directions.
Dropbox vs Google Drive (Customer Support): Editor’s Review
Google Drive has won some major points by involving phone assistance and live chat. Otherwise, all mediums like FAQs, knowledge base, tutorials, websites, etc provide equal value to the customers.
Dropbox vs Google Drive (Customer Support) – Google Drive is the winner.
10. Dropbox vs Google Drive File Type Support
Cloud storage is used to store and share multiple file types. The provider which support more file types is usually more suitable. Although you may not have to deal with all the file types but it is always good to have options readily available.
Dropbox supports a limited number of file types. You can preview document, presentation, spreadsheet, basic text, image, video, link, and audio. There is no way you can edit the files online. If it’s a Word document, you can use Office Online integration to edit it online; otherwise, there is no way.
Google Drive can be used to view 30 file types on the web. You can view image, video, document, text, markup, MS Office, audio, PDF, Photoshop, Illustrator and other file types in the browser. Third-party apps can also be used to view different file types and formats in Google Drive.
Google Drive Vs Dropbox (File Type Support): Editor’s Review
Of course, Google Drive supports more file types than Dropbox. Basically, the feature to edit within the shared document is a bonus. Also, Google Drive supports a lot of stuff that nobody else does. So it is a no-brainer Google Drive is a winner here.
Google Drive Vs Dropbox (File Type Support) – Google Drive is the winner.
The Summary Of Google Drive and Dropbox Comparison
Phew! I have come to an end of the debate between Google Drive and Dropbox, and I have a clear winner as well. However, before I declare the verdict, it is time to summarize what we have discovered so far about these two mainstream cloud storage service providers.
- In terms of pricing plans and storage options, Google Drive gives you more choices, and it has cheaper pricing plans. Dropbox lacks variety in its pricing packages, but its 1 TB account is cheaper than Google Drive.
- On the security front, both uses two-way authentication login and strong encryption but still, there is a lot of scope for improvement. Dropbox has been weakened by a few hacking incidents while Google Drive is problematic because of single email address for all the Google apps.
- Dropbox is way faster than Google Drive when it comes to uploading and downloading files in the web browser. Google Drive needs to work on improving its speed.
- Google Drive wins the customer service department by providing live chat and phone assistance whereas Dropbox doesn’t provide these options. Both service providers offer FAQs, knowledge base, tutorials, website, etc.
- The process of sharing files and folders with others is similar in both contenders. However, Google Drive supports more file types, and it allows the editing of the shared document on the web.
- As far as sync feature (desktop), web interface, and compatibility are concerned, Google Drive and Dropbox are pretty much on the same level.
Conclusion: Google Drive vs Dropbox
In the light of above arguments, Google Drive is a better option than Dropbox. It would be much easier if you are already a fan of other Google apps like Gmail, Google Docs, Chrome, etc. However, Google Drive must work on enhancing its speed and security measures. Although Dropbox didn’t lose by a major gap. It is still a tough contender and a strong cloud storage option.