Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Google Drive vs. The Competition Which It Right For You?

With the launch of Google Drive users may find themselves asking if its worth it to change from their current cloud based storage service or new users might find themselves asking which is the best option for them. So to help you decide we've done a quick break down on some of the top services to show you have each stacks up.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • Total Disk Space: SkyDrive currently offers the most free storage at 7GB, and users who signed up before April 22 and install the new app will 25GBs free for a limited time.
  • Monthly Cost: For users that want more than just the free offering cost is important and Google Drive undercuts all of its competitors on monthly pricing, but Microsoft's Skydrive--which doesn't offer monthly pricing-- is cheaper on an annual basis.
  • File Size Limits: If you upload large files this is an important factor. Google Drive limits files to 10GBs which is more than most users would need and more generous than other services.
Google Drive, iCloud, DropBox, SkyDrive So Many Choices

Google Drive is the new kid to the block, joining Microsoft's SkyDrive, Apple's new iCloud and stand alone services like DropBox. There are of course several other options out there, these however are just some of the most popular. So which one will be best suited for you and your needs. To answer that question we've looked at a few things we want most from our cloud storage service. Compatibility, price and features.

Maximum Compatibility
In terms of overall compatibility Dropbox is by far one of the best options. The company was one of the earliest players in the cloud storage game which gives them a major competitive edge. Dropbox has the advantage of being compatible with almost every platform and is already available in several apps and services.

Downsides: The first major downside is that you start with only 2GB free, less than any other service we cover today. You can add more by referring friends to the service or paying, but it's still a poor way to start out. Second is the file size limit. Dropbox Files uploaded through the website (by pressing the upload button) have a 300 MB cap. In other words, each file you upload through the website must be 300 MB or less. This could hamper many users.

Best Free Options
For most home users we are going to go with the free options. For the most part this will give us the most bang for the buck (it is free after all). If raw space is all you want Microsoft SkyDrive with it's 7GB free and the backing of Microsoft make it the overall best option. If you are already a user you can upgrade to the additional space and get 25GBs free making it even more attractive. Of course, raw space isn't everything SkyDrive offers. You'll have the option of sharing an entire computer, Microsoft Office integration and of course Hotmail integration.

Downsides: Microsoft SkyDrive sounds like its might be the best bang for your buck but it does have some draw backs. For starters if you are a new user you are limited to 7GB free maximum. Currently there is no Android app, and other mobile apps look lackluster. We don't see nearly the same integration we see in DropBox.

Best Bang For The Buck: Our vote here has to go to Google Drive. You get more overall free space, more integration into things we use now like Google Docs and you have browser-based viewing and editing of several different file types. Another plus is you can share huge files, which means you can add some large presentations, video clips Mp3's ect.

Getting the Most For Your Money
Users wanting to step up from a free service and still get the best, or most out of their dollar have to ask themselves two questions. One how much space am I going to need and two realistically how am I going to use the service. For the absolute best pricing SkyDrive offers the best deal. You have the option of 20GBs for $10/yr or 100GB of space for $50/yr. Both options are a fair bit less than it would run you on Google Drive and considerably less than you'd pay for DropBox. Google does offer an additional 25GBs of Gmail storage with any purchase but who really uses that?

Downsides: Again, the best price for the raw space might not be the best option. If you are hosting files for a business and need a service that supports multiple devices Google Drive is going to be the better overall price of the three but DropBox might be the best overall for functionality.

So What About iCloud?
You may have noticed we've barely mentioned Apple's cloud based service and that is for good reason. Apple's service is strictly for Apple customers with iDevices. So we really can't make a competitive comparison to other services that are open to all customers. If you are a current Apple user and you need a cloud service it's a great deal. Your music and media are available anywhere on any of your iDevices or linked iTunes account and neither count toward the 5GB of space Apple gives you for free. The service is nicely integrated with OS X and iOS devices, as well, so it's kind of a no-brainer if you like Apple's other i-programs you should be using iCloud.

So, which service is the one to choose? To be honest there’s no one-size fits all solution here. For the most part I suggest trying them all and finding the one that best fits your needs. Something we might like about one service is something others might hate. For instance they all have varying interfaces that you might not find easy to use while we love.

1 comment:

  1. Google will definitely push users to GDrive with better email integration. Waiting for the battle and drops in prices..


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