In recent months, I’ve found myself using a few extra Google services. One such function is Google Play Music’s music collection matching/upload service, which I’ve used to upload my entire music collection and play it back from my Android devices. Another Google service I’ve been using lately is Google Drive, Google’s online “cloud” storage service. For me, it’s pretty much replaced Dropbox.
Google Drive’s advantages over Dropbox for myself include:
- More free storage space: Google Drive comes with 15GB of storage for free, while Dropbox only includes 2GB. While there’s ways of getting more space for free with Dropbox, it usually either comes in increments not matching Drive’s 15GB or expires after a set time period (such as a year or two), after which you’re stuck paying to get the same amount of space. 15GB also gives me more basic space to use, even if Google splits the space between Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. Currently, I’m using up about 4GB, or 27%, of the free storage space.
- Cheaper extra space options: Google Drive offers extra storage space for a much cheaper rate than Dropbox. Currently, Drive offers 100GB for $1.99/mo., 1TB for $9.99/mo., 10TB for $99.99/mo., 20TB for $199.99/mo., and 30TB for $299.99/mo. Dropbox, meanwhile, offers 100GB for $9.99/mo. or $99/year, 200GB for $19.99/mo. or $199/year, or 500GB for $49.99/mo. or $499/year. With Drive’s 1TB plan offering vastly more space for a much cheaper price (and the 100GB plan quite inexpensive), it seems to hold a big advantage over Dropbox on that front.
- Integration with Google’s services: While Dropbox’s app integrates itself fairly well into my Android devices, Mac Mini, and Linux laptop, Drive comes with such integration natively on Android, being included with the operating system.
Things I’ve been using Google Drive for include:
- Uploading DRM-free digital comics, such as those from the Humble Bundle sales or Image Comics’ website. While I can plug in my Nexus 7 at home and copy comics to the tablet directly, a cloud-based option to keep my DRM-free books in one spot and download comics as needed (and save space on the tablet) is nice.
- Storing various documents I might need when traveling. While I have my laptop with me while traveling, it doesn’t get as much use while at home versus my Mac Mini. Copying documents from my Mini to Drive so I can use them on my laptop’s convenient, without digging out my USB drive.
- Backing up photos from my camera/smartphone. Android devices these days offer the option of automatically backing up photos to Google+ Photos, which ties into Drive. I suppose this falls under my switching from Flickr to Google+ Photos for photo storage, between the backup convenience and my discovering that one can’t bulk-download photos from Flickr (even if paying for Pro), which seems like a big flaw to me.
Google Drive does have a few flaws:
- Photos is too tied to Google+ for photo-sharing purposes. While I like Google+, I do need to sometimes share things to other social media services, such as Facebook and Twitter. While one can share entire sets to places outside Google+, there’s no such support for individual photos. (Unless right-clicking to view the photo and copying that URL “counts.”)
- The usual concerns about being even more reliant on Google for services. Yes, it’s yet another service I’m relying on Google for, though I don’t believe they plan on sending it the way of Google Reader, iGoogle, etc. Those are reasons I’ve stuck with Evernote instead of Google Keep, which seems like a prime candidate for Google to someday kill off.
- Full-size photos count toward the storage limit. However, uploading photos at a smaller size (2048 x 2048 pixels or smaller) doesn’t count toward the limit. I opt for full-size uploads, since I value having the original version available (and backed up) more than saving space.
Overall, Drive’s been pretty decent.