Google Drive v. Dropbox v. Skydrive v. ...?

How do you find the different services? Google just dropped the price of its service to $120 per year for 1TB of storage, and I’m very tempted to switch/upgrade from my 50GB free space on Dropbox.

Searching the issue brings me many old or dateless articles, so I’m turning to the TM who have had experience with the services.

I primarily use Dropbox to share/synch photos. It syncs very well with my phone and desktop and family members get convenient alerts when something uploads. Does G’Drive do the same? What about the other services?

I also use it to keep files I work on on my laptop synched automatically to my desktop. Is the technology mature enough such that this is a trivial feat and all will do very well? Or are there differences I should be aware of?

Given the pricing, if I switch to Drive I’ll be able to drop an $80 GoToMyPC subscription. We have that in case we need to reach our NAS when travelling. But the NAS has the ability to synch with various cloud storage services, and Drive’s new price makes that feasible. Am I correct in assuming that by doing this we’ll have access to all our home files as long as we have an active Internet connection?

I can’t imagine there’s any security or other related concern (NSA notwithstanding and assuming strong passwords), but don’t have sufficient knowledge to not ask the question.

Lastly, we use a VPN (Private Internet Access) when away from home. It’s given us some issues when Outlook tries to connect to my Gmail address—will we likely face similar issues with Drive?

Other than price, *are *there major differences between the services?

(Here in GQ because I assume prettiness and abstract qualities aren’t likely relevant—that it’s a matter of features and use experience.)

I use all three, though I have less experience with Skydrive–which has been rebranded as Onedrive–than the others.

With all of them, I’ve downloaded and installed the sync programs to my computers (work laptop, home laptop and home desktop, and iPad) which stores a local copy of the files on the computers.

Here are my quick reviews:

Dropbox - The sync function works very well. The amount of free storage is pretty small, and the paid storage was the most expensive by far, the last time I checked.

Google Drive - I have this account through my employer, and so I use it the most frequently. I have about 50 GB worth of space here, compared to only about 3 GB on Dropbox. It works pretty well. I do have a gripe: The sync function has caused me grief a couple of times by not syncing files in a timely manner. For instance, I would create or edit a file at work and drag it into my Google Drive folder on my computer. An hour or two later I shut down the work computer and go home. Then I want to work on the file at home and it turns out the file never got uploaded from the work computer, so the home computer can’t pull it when it syncs. There is no setting in the Google Drive app that lets you set the frequency with which it syncs. Of course, I could just always save files to Google Drive on the web, but the sync feature is more convenient when it works correctly.

There’s also the Google Docs feature, which may be a plus or minus depending on how you feel about Google Docs.

Onedrive (Skydrive) - never had any sync problems, and when I looked into it they had the most free space available and the cheapest paid options. I would probably pick this over Google Drive if I had to pay.

I use all three as well. The things that are opinion-based are marked as such; the other things should just be “facts”.


  • The only service that does delta sync (meaning if you change 1 byte out of a 1 gigabyte file, it’ll only update that 1 byte instead of uploading the whole thing again)
  • (Opinion) The most reliable, by far, sync – Google Drive and OneDrive always seemed to be slower to realize something has been changed and to propagate that change to the other computers.
  • LAN syncing means faster syncs within your home network
  • Best third-party support if you ever need to use other online services with it (but GDrive and OneDrive are rapidly catching up)
  • Unlimited version history for all files with the additional Pack Rat feature


  • Most expensive
  • No document collaboration features like Google or OneDrive


  • Google Docs integration: I use MS Office 99% less now because GDocs is SO much easier to use in a team
  • Cheap now


  • Google Docs integration: GDoc hyperlinks and actual Office docs get confused sometimes, depending on how they were made and uploaded (by the GDrive client or the GDocs website). It makes for a messy sync folder.
  • (Opinion) Didn’t seem as fast or reliable as Dropbox
  • No delta or LAN sync
  • Version history only for Google Docs


  • Excellent Windows and Office 2013 integration – far better than its competitors, because Microsoft has the first-party advantage. OneDrive is the default save location for these programs and using it is dead simple.
  • OK collaborative features. Office docs shared with other users can be viewed and (to a degree) edited online. But Google Docs is faster, more usable, and more collaborative.


  • No LAN sync
  • No delta sync EXCEPT for Office 2013 files. Office apparently has its own sync engine that uses OneDrive behind the scenes, but the rest of OneDrive doesn’t do this. Office files are unlikely to be that large to begin with, so that’s not altogether very helpful.
  • Version history only for Office files

I have thought about using these services as I do have large amounts of data and use several quite large external drives to keep everything safe.

It seems risky though; that they might suddenly change the terms or lose my data or just simply go away.

Well, there wouldn’t really be any problems if Dropbox lost your data, or if they suddenly shut down their service. All your files are still on your computer.

I would never use one of these services as my only storage. But as an additional storage option, their failure mode (service going away abruptly) is completely different from the potential failure mode of my house burning down, taking all our computers and hard drives with it.

That happened to a neighbor and a few months later he filed bankruptcy.

How did you manage to get only 3 GB on Dropbox? I’m no expert, as I just signed up for Dropbox a couple days ago, but I started out with 26.8 GB of space. And yes, the syncing is impressively fast.

How did you get 26 GB? I’ve only got 2.25 GB, and if I get all the free space I could, that would only get me to about 19 GB. I’d have to refer 32 friends, at half a GB each, to get most of that.

What **Zenbeam **said–the only way I could get more than about 3 GB is to get a ton of friends to sign up.

Tim, did you sign up along with a cell phone plan or something? I think I’ve heard of people getting more “free” storage on Dropbox because of their mobile phone service.

I have 50GB because I signed up when I first got my Galaxy S3. I’ve been under the assumption that this was brilliant marketing by Dropbox. I’m pretty used to the service and convenience and will be in for a jolt when the spaciousness comes to an end and they want to charge me for it.

Took me 2-3 years to subscribe too, after like 3 GB of real referrals and another 7 GB of fake ones (sorry, Dropbox!). I finally paid up and couldn’t be happier… it’s made life so much easier when working between desktop/laptop and sharing files with teams and friends.