Sadly I wasn’t among the first few previewers who got their hands on the tech giant’s latest product, Google Drive. However I got a chance a day later. It’s been two days now and I sat down writing about the choices I’ve made. The initial expressions have been ambivalence but as I thought deeply, it seem I found a way out of this dilemma over Dropbox and its newer alternative.
It All Started With Installing
As you get a confirmation mail from them that your Google Drive is ready. Log in to your Google Docs account and you’ll find and option to the left column(below the menu options) to download drive to your PC or Mac. Once done downloading, install the syncing client.
As it is completed, a new window will pops out which needs you either to sign in to the service or signup for a new account with Google. I’ll guess most of you have one. Type in the username and password and you’re almost there. Press Next on the Welcome screen and in the following window spend some time tweaking the tool. It’s quite easy actually if you are really not that bothered about the advanced settings. And if you are, take a look and it’s just an additional step. Just like other similar syncing clients, you can choose the folder locations, certain folders to sync et cetera.
Is It Just a Copycat or Is Drive Better?
All set and done, I spent a day more perusing the features. Not surprisingly, I was left bewildered with the same old questions when a new product launches, what now? What am I gonna use it for? Is it time to abandon the trusted Dropbox? If so why? My curious mind kept pondering. At long last I got some reasons to decide on my syncing tool.
1. Dropbox has been there for long and have proved itself efficient enough to meet my syncing needs. With Google Drive is it going to be better? One thing was certain, Google Docs was loyal to my document editing needs and helped me maintain my presentations, ROI reports in a manageable manner(and with Offline docs, I do not even need other Office suite for quick document editing tasks). Dropbox however fails badly here and I don’t think they are going to launch an online document editing suite anytime soon. That’s not even ancillary for Dropbox as a product. But with Drive I have the power to create, edit, collaborate, store and carry documents. Plus one to Drive.
2. As I moved on the next question which tells me how much space am I going to need in the next 5 to 10 years? Think of the Full HD videos from the last trip or high-res pics you took on your son’s last birthday. I know it’s huge and in fact even the web is now dressing up to be more optimized for rich content. This makes the need of storage (and lots of it) more obvious. Sooner or later I am going to need it. Now if I have to buy, who is it going to be. Affordability is where Drive again beats Dropbox. Consider this simple fact, a storage of 100GB on Drive will cost you $59.88/year($4.99/mo) whereas Dropbox will charge you $199.99 for that. Now you get 25GB in Gmail and 1GB in Picasa if you buy any additional storage from Google. Dropbox has a referral system in place where you can earn upto 32GB for any additional storage you pay (if you are an average guy, it’ll take years to reach that limit. Yet for the sake of comparison I’m considering you will). So the equation turns out to be $0.475/GB(for Drive) and $1.5/GB for Dropbox. Google Drive is 3 times cheaper. Note, the yearly plans are not yet available for Drive and as it will the prices are going to get cheaper.
3. I am a strict Gmail-er and most likely you are too. Think of the ease at which you can email your documents now. Well I forgot, it was already there in Google Docs(document sharing). But with Drive integration, Gmail has now the built-in convenience to add any file on Drive as an attachment. Neat huh? One more reason to rule in favor of Google Drive.
4. Remember Picasa, a nice online image editing tool from Google? Yet again Dropbox fails to provide one such tool. True Picasa is not yet an integral part of Drive as Docs, but the trend with Google products follows, predicts that sooner or later you will be able to edit the images on Drive with Picasa.
5. Syncing and seamless integration with platforms is something Dropbox has an upper hand. This is something I detest about Google Drive as of now, but, hasn’t it just started? Give some time and see if the new updates bring some change. In a worst case scenario, you always an option to switch back to Dropbox albeit the aforesaid reasons are already good enough to stick to Drive.
With all those facts and figures at hand I’m still a bit hesitant to switch to Drive as privacy is a serious concern(read my earlier elaboration on Drive). Although, Dropbox made the same mistake of demanding rights for user files (they retracted only after the decision backfired and brought in some adverse reactions). Also, noteworthy is that I have truckload of images on Skydrive and so far liked it that way. The situation demands a rethinking of storage usage. All said, I must say I’m not going let my ~12GB Dropbox account lay idle and I’m still thinking a way to use it maybe a file repository for web based projects or a file dump for anyone who chooses to send me something. On a concluding note, I must say that I’ve got one thing etched in my mind that Google Drive is going to be my primary syncing service from this point on although I’ll use some encryption for files I choose not to be viewed by anyone. Do you think otherwise? Do you think Dropbox has better reasons to keep you glued? Pour in your thoughts. I’ll love to hear them.