File Sync Opposition: Google Drive Vs. Dropbox Vs. OneDrive

Access to decent cloud storage is almost essential these days, whether for work or leisure, but everyone seems to have an opinion on which is the best. Let’s break down the three most popular file sync services and see which one dominates.


You are probably already familiar with Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. We’ve talked about all three services before and even highlighted the best add-ons to make Google Drive better and showcased smart ways to use Dropbox . We even dismantled OneDrive for parts to see how it is combined with other cloud services, and faced between Google Drive and Dropbox even when Google Drive launch. However, things have changed a bit for all three services since then. Here are the basics:

  • Google Drive: Google Drive launched in 2012. It’s free to use if you have a Google account, but the service also offers more storage, from 100GB to 30TB, for a monthly fee ranging from $ 2 to $ 300 per month . more storage space for a monthly fee. You can use it to store any type of file, share those files with others, and use the Google Drive office suite, which lets you collaboratively edit documents, spreadsheets, forms, and slideshows. Google Drive has apps for Windows, OS X, Android, and iOS.
  • Dropbox: Dropbox launched in 2007. Dropbox Basic accounts are free, but there is also a Pro version that offers 1TB for $ 10 per month . You can use it to store any type of file, share those files with others, and automatically sync local files. Dropbox has apps available for all major platforms, as well as some smaller ones like Linux, Blackberry, and Kindle Fire.
  • OneDrive: OneDrive, formerly known as SkyDrive, is a Microsoft service that launched as it stands in 2014. You get 5GB for free with a Microsoft account, but Office 365 subscribers have access to 1TB. If you’re not an Office 365 subscriber, you can get 50 GB by upgrading to OneDrive Basic for $ 2 a month . OneDrive lets you store any type of file and organize it by file type. The service is also tightly integrated with Microsoft Office and built into Windows 8 and Windows 10. It is available on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

You can use all three services for free on most platforms, but if you want to upgrade, it’s good to know how they differ and where they are best.

Storage plans and prices

When it comes to cloud storage, size matters, especially if you’re looking for a place to store and share large files. Each bidder has upgradeable storage plans and prices that go beyond their free storage options, but let’s start with what you can get without paying anything:

  • Google Drive: 15GB of free storage with a Google account (including Gmail storage).
  • Dropbox: 2GB of free storage with a Dropbox Basic account (more free storage available).
  • OneDrive: 5GB of free storage with a Microsoft account.

It should also be noted that OneDrive once offered 15GB of free storage, but this is no longer the case. Late last year, Microsoft lowered the storage for Office 365 subscribers to 1TB of unlimited storage. They also deleted their 100GB and 200GB plans. They did offer people the option to choose additional storage , but now it’s too late.

Free Dropbox storage may seem like 2GB limited, but you can increase your free account limit in a couple of ways : you get 500MB of extra storage to send someone to Dropbox , 125MB to link each of your social networks. 250MB if you’re using check out their Dropbox basics guide and get an extra 3GB by enabling “camera upload” on your mobile device . However, there is a 16GB limit for free Dropbox storage, so you don’t have to go crazy too much.

If the free storage offered by each service isn’t enough for you, they all have paid tiers that offer even more storage for your money:

If you’re looking for the most free storage with the least effort, Google Drive is the place to go. But if you need more than 15GB and are willing to pay for it, both Google Drive and Dropbox offer pretty decent prices. The $ 2 50GB OneDrive option seems quite expensive compared to the $ 2 100GB Google Drive plan, but if you’re knee-deep in the Microsoft Office or Windows suite, it might be worth the price.

Daily use and file syncing

While all three of these services are fairly easy to use and widely available, each has its own set of great features and functions that make them suitable for certain types of users. For example, Google Drive and OneDrive are deeply integrated into their ecosystems. However, Dropbox is more of a free agent that makes cloud storage ultra-affordable no matter what platform you are on or what apps you use. Let’s take a closer look at some of their standout features and key differences.

Google drive

Google Drive can be accessed through a browser , a desktop app that creates a folder associated with Google Drive, or a mobile app. Once logged in, you can upload individual files (up to 5TB per file), create file folders to organize files, or create new files using Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, or Google Drawings.

After installing the Google Drive desktop client, you can also drag and drop files to a linked folder on your desktop to sync them with your cloud account. The local copy remains on your computer and you can access the same files on any other device with the application installed or through a web browser. If you’re using Gmail, Google Drive lets you attach and save attachments directly from Drive. Any of your files and folders can be shared with others through an invitation or email link, and you can invite others to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, or other files in real time.

Google Photos makes Google Drive a great place to store all of your photos , especially if you want to be able to quickly search them. Photos automatically organize your photos by where you took them and who is in the photo. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that while Drive offers as much free storage as possible in advance, it’s used in Photos, Documents, and even Gmail.


Dropbox can also be accessed through any web browser, its desktop app, or the Dropbox mobile app. You can upload files of any size using Dropbox, and you can drag files or folders to your Dropbox folder and they sync immediately, leaving a local copy on your device. Unfortunately, you cannot drag and drop entire upload folders in the web app (you need to grab every single file).

Also, downloading large files may take a while depending on your internet speed, but if you enable LAN sync , you can dramatically increase the speed of syncing files between devices while you are on a LAN. This is useful when you are sharing large files such as music, movies, or photos between devices at home. Dropbox also keeps track of the history of changes and changes to files, and if someone deletes a file you have shared with them (or you accidentally delete something), you can access and restore the deleted files within 30 days of deletion. However, Dropbox doesn’t have to be your only file backup .

Dropbox lets you share files and folders with an invitation or email link (accessed without the need for a Dropbox account), and Dropbox users can also collaborate on Microsoft Office Online files in real time . For other types of files, you can still collaborate on them, comment on them, and re-share them — just not in real time. It is still very useful, but it can be confusing if two people try to make changes to the same file at the same time.

Dropbox does not have a suite of apps for creating files inside the service (such as Google Drive and OneDrive), but the lack of additional tools makes up for in ease of use and third-party apps and tools. Dropbox’s open API makes it easy for developers to integrate Dropbox with almost anything. All in all, Dropbox is the cloud service that popularized cloud storage and has been around for a long time. Most cloud storage and file sharing services try to imitate this.

One disc

OneDrive is essentially Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iCloud, but it works across multiple platforms. This means that it is great for everyone in the Microsoft ecosystem, but also useful for everyone else. Like others, you can access OneDrive through the web app, desktop app, and mobile app. OneDrive is actually built into Windows 8 and Windows 10 and doesn’t have a separate app to use. For example, on Windows 10, OneDrive is a background app that appears as an option when you save files or use File Explorer. So, if you are using Windows 10 and have a Microsoft account, you are already a OneDrive user.

You can upload any files or folders up to 10GB in size, and OneDrive will automatically sort them by file type. You can also access your files from anywhere, including your Xbox 360 or Xbox One console. Plus, OneDrive is integrated with Outlook, so you can attach files in the cloud to emails on the fly. If you do a lot of photos, OneDrive automatically organizes your photos in the gallery in depending on the location and time of the shooting . You can also add captions or location tags and even post your photo galleries directly to Facebook.

Microsoft Office is also fully integrated with OneDrive. It makes it easy to share documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows, and allows Office 365 subscribers to collaborate in real time. You can share other files by sending an email invitation or link, just like Google Drive and Dropbox.

Security and encryption

Of course, what’s the point of this repository if it’s insecure? The bad news is that neither Google Drive, Dropbox, nor OneDrive support encryption natively. This means that if someone can get into your cloud storage, they will have access to all your saved files.

There are many things you can do yourself ; for example, enabling two-factor authentication, auditing all your connected devices and services, and self-encrypting data . Dropbox also lets you store encrypted volumes and then unpack them to your computer . Basically, if you want your files to be safe using these services, you will need to do whatever you can to protect them yourself.

When it comes to privacy, Google, Dropbox, and Microsoft approach your data and whoever has access to it in slightly different ways. Google and Dropbox insist on a court order before tracking, investigating, or sharing your information with authorities. Microsoft, on the other hand, has a long history of scanning and tracking people’s OneDrive files ( which is similar to how Apple handles iCloud privacy ). If you’re looking for cloud storage options that are more focused on security, there are much better options available . Of course, you can also set up your own private cloud storage if you are particularly concerned about the security of your data.

Google Drive is best for Google Die Hards, OneDrive is best for Microsoft Office Pro, and Dropbox is best for everything

Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive do a great job of storing files in the cloud, and they all do it in a very similar way. Beyond that, it really matters what additional features you need.

Google Drive is easy to set up and offers plenty of free storage. If you work a lot with Google apps and services, especially Google Docs and Google Photos, Google Drive is your best bet. It’s also not bad if you just want a lot of hassle-free free file storage. The only downside is that your Gmail inbox counts against your Drive storage, so your free 15GB can be used up faster than you think.

If Google Drive is for people who live in the Google ecosystem, OneDrive is perfect for anyone who has invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. If you have Windows or work in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint every day, OneDrive is almost perfect. The same applies if you use Outlook and Xbox Live a lot. It’s still a decent enough option if you don’t spend a lot of time with Microsoft products and do some really nifty things ( like converting whiteboards and documents to PDFs ), but obviously it aims to get you involved in the rest of Microsoft’s services.

Dropbox is for everyone and works great no matter what platform you use. In fact, if you are an avid Linux user, this is the best option. It doesn’t have a lot of extra features, but it does a great job with cloud storage, making everything so simple. The Dropbox desktop app integrates seamlessly with your computer’s file system, and Dropbox syncs files almost instantly across all your devices. Dropbox has a huge open API and is pretty developer-friendly, which means there are many third-party apps , helper tools (for things like syncing other folders with a single right click) and other services that integrate with it. The service has also been around for a long time, so if you have any special cloud storage needs, there is probably already a Dropbox-enabled plug-in or app out there that can do what you need. The Dropbox web app isn’t nearly as optimized as its desktop or mobile apps, though, and “getting” free storage is kind of a hurdle, but hey, free is free.

There is nothing to say that you also cannot use all three services and split the workload based on the strengths of each. For example, you can use OneDrive to collaborate with your team in Microsoft Office, store photos and other media in your Google Drive, and use Dropbox as a versatile and reliable storage location for everything else.


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