Google Drive: A slick Dropbox killer?

The search giant throws its hat into the cloud storage-services ring.

By Apr 26, 2012 5:00PM
After years of rumors, Google Drive, the search company's long-awaited entry into the cloud storage wars, is finally here. With an interface that evokes Google Docs, Drive functions much like Dropbox, allowing users to drag-and-drop files they want to store in the cloud onto a desktop folder. Users get 5 GB of free space, and can add an additional 25 GB for $30 each year. Google (GOOG), however, is late to the race -- Dropbox already fulfills the file-storing needs of well over 50 million users, and consumers using competitors like Microsoft's (MSFT) SkyDrive, Apple's (AAPL) iCloud, Box and SugarSync may also be hesitant to move their files.  (Microsoft owns and publishes TechBiz, an MSN Money site.)

How does Google Drive stack up to its rivals?

Its integrating features make it worthwhile: "Google Drive hits a sweet spot between value and flexibility," says Adrian Covert at Gizmodo. Dropbox may be available on more mobile platforms (as yet, Google Drive lacks iPhone or iPad apps), but Drive is integrated with Google's other offerings: You can edit your documents via Google Docs, for instance. "It's not the cheapest or most comprehensive" of the available services, but the versatile Google Drive "appears to cover the widest swath of features people want."

Dropbox is still the clear winner: "Drive is actually pretty solid for something that just launched," says Whitson Gordon at Lifehacker, but Google is also "super late to the game," which makes Drive's shortcomings -- like the inability to restore files long after you've deleted them -- a "little disappointing." Google Docs users will still love it. But Dropbox, with its superior desktop app, ability to control your syncing speed, and availability on a wider range of platforms, "still has the edge in most of our minds." 

Another free storage service? Why not?: Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive, SugarSync, and more are "all certainly comparable to one another," says Chris Burns at Slashgear. Of course, Google hopes that Drive will "clobber the rest of the cloud storage services" to emerge as the one true victor. But there can only be one winner, right? "Wrong! You can feel free to use all these services if you wish, as none of them is able to detect that you're using" one of its competitors. "No high school jealousy among apps here, friends." Use them all for gigs and gigs of free storage.

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