What's the practical difference between Google Drive and Dropbox? What features does one offer that the other doesn't? Specifically, how well does sharing and permissions work in Google Drive (Dropbox is fairly straightfoward)?


One could sit and write all the features here, but you could also just google around as there are hundreds of post on this right now. The one from The Verge has a more elaborated answer.


I will list a few here but as the user Bibhas has stated, they can be easily found on Google here.

  • Google Drive could be considered more reliable. Google hosts way more then just users files and have been hosting it for ages. They have handled the terabytes of YouTube videos, and are one of the biggest internet companies out there. I would say Google is more reliable for having that safety feeling.
  • On the other hand, Google has been known to push there privacy policy as far as they can, and they could possibly be snooping in your files, specifically your text files. Of course this is possible for Dropbox as well, but they have less reason to want to do this.
  • Dropbox only offers 2GB for a free user, where as Google Drive gives you 5GB to start with. Yes with Dropbox you can earn a lot more space for free by refering, but lets be honest not to many people have the time to get that many people to sign up.
  • If you need more storage and want to buy more, Google Drive is only $2.49 for 25GB, or $4.99 for 100GB. Dropbox costs $9.99 for 50GB and $19.99 for 100GB
  • More people use Dropbox. ~45 Million
  • Google Drive implements Google Docs, so you also have all those tools along with Google Drive
  • You can use OCR to search documents to find a specific bit of text in it.

Of course this list is not complete. Others feel free to add on to this!


The key thing about Google Drive, for me, and the real relevance of this topic to this stack is they are the first link up the file types with the web applications that open them. Just as an OS UI generally knows what to do with an open file request, so should your web drive.

And does it really make sense for every web application to have a separate UI for file access? I think not, it's not that you use one web application with each storage provider, you use one storage provider with each web application. Each of the storage providers should be offering a standard open/save in JavaScript (Google do this for open), so if you pick one provider, you get a standard interface everywhere for them.

What I'd love to see is the storage providers standardise on a web application manifest and to all provide their file access widget in JavaScript. This would make it far easier for web application providers to integrate with the storage providers.


I want to point out here that I wish Google Drive gave users the option to open files in Docs or via a native app like Pages. The lack of this option is why I use Insync. Insync syncs all Google Docs as .DOC files so I can open them in Pages if necessary. It's rarely necessary, but it's nice to have the option.

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