Dropbox vs. Google Drive: Which should you choose?

May 25, 2021 · 8 min read

When choosing cloud storage services, there's a good chance two of the choices at the top of your list are Dropbox vs. Google Drive — for good reason! Both are popular, value-packed cloud storage options with file sharing, file syncing, and file backup capabilities.

But when we compare the two, which is the best cloud storage solution?

Today, we're looking at Dropbox vs. Google Drive head-to-head to see which service will emerge victoriously.


Dropbox

Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage service providers. This product allows you to save your files online and sync them across your devices. You can also share files and folders and collaborate on documents with ease.

While Google Drive and Dropbox appear to be very similar cloud storage services, Dropbox approaches cloud storage differently than Google — it focuses on file syncing across devices as well as cloud backup.

Features

  • Cloud file storage and backup

  • File sharing and large file transfer

  • File recovery and version history

  • Document collaboration and editing through Dropbox Paper

  • Syncing across devices

  • Password sync and storage

  • Desktop app and mobile app

  • HelloSign eSignatures

  • Integrates with tools like Zoom, Canva, Slack, and more

  • Access from Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices

  • 256-bit AES and SSL/TLS encryption

  • Priority email support

Pricing

Dropbox has different pricing plans for personal and business use. For business plans, here's what the pricing looks like when billed yearly:

  • Professional: $16.58 per month per user for 1 user

  • Standard: $12.50 per month per user, minimum of 3 users

  • Advanced: $20 per month per user, minimum of 3 users


Google Drive

Of course, Google has become synonymous with online search. But do they make the best cloud storage service? (We'll let you be the judge.)

Like Dropbox, Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud-based storage solutions on the market. It allows you to save files online and access them from any device, anywhere there's an Internet connection. Like Dropbox, it also gives you the ability to store, share, and access files in just a few clicks.

Google Drive comes at file sharing and storage from a different place than Dropbox. With Google, you get an entire suite of office software for creating, collaborating, sharing, and storing files in the cloud. There’s no way to pay for Google Drive alone — you have to subscribe to Google Workspace, where you get access to the whole suite of tools.

Features

  • File storage, sharing, and access from any device

  • File streaming directly from the cloud to Mac or PC

  • Offline access to files

  • Shared team drives

  • Google search technology for files

  • Cloud-native collaboration apps (Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides)

  • Collaborate on Microsoft Office files without converting file formats

  • Supports over 100 file types

  • Integrates with dozens of tools and apps like Adobe, DocuSign, Salesforce, Slack, and more

  • Desktop app and mobile app

  • Access from Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices

  • 128-bit SSL encryption

Pricing

Google Drive also has different pricing for personal and business plans, but there’s no minimum number of users on the business plans. Also, with Google Drive, you're paying for Google Workspace, which means that you get cloud file storage and Google's other applications like Gmail, Google Meet, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and more.

Let's look at what the business plans cost when billed yearly:

  • Business Starter: $6 per user per month

  • Business Standard: $12 per user per month

  • Business Plus: $18 per user per month

  • Enterprise: You have to contact Google for custom pricing


Dropbox vs. Google Drive

So, who’d win in a battle between Dropbox vs. Google Drive?

The right cloud storage service for you will depend on your needs and priorities. Let's take a look at how each cloud storage provider compares when it comes to important features like security, storage, file sharing, syncing, integrations, and price.

Security

Both Dropbox and Google Drive offer two-factor authentication to encrypt your data when files are in motion (use) and at rest (in storage). However, Dropbox uses stronger encryption to keep stored files safe with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit encryption — the same encryption standard used to protect top-secret data. Google Drive only uses 128-bit encryption for data at rest.

Dropbox has additional security features that make it more versatile. For example, you can store and sync your passwords with Dropbox Passwords. It also offers secure signing of documents with electronic signatures and the ability to recover any lost, edited, or deleted work with ease. 

For security, it seems Dropbox is the clear winner.

Storage

For paid file storage, Google Drive and Dropbox are similar in pricing for personal use. For instance, GoogleOne, a subscription plan that gives you storage across Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos, is $9.99 per month for 2 TB of storage (billed yearly). The Dropbox equivalent (Plus plan) is also $9.99 per month for 2 TB of storage (billed yearly).

It's important to note that Google Drive does have limitations on file size for uploading and converting. It's 2 MB for Google Docs, 20 MB for Google Sheets, and 50 MB for Google Slides. You can upload large files beyond these limits, but they will not be converted to Google Drive formats. 

Google Drive supports the upload of large files up to 10 GB, while Dropbox allows you to upload files up to 50 GB.

When it comes to storage, Dropbox wins by a hair.

File Sharing

Dropbox and Google Drive provide great options for managing your team and their access to files. With both services, you can share individual files or entire folders by sharing a link or sending an email. 

Dropbox has some advanced sharing features that make its sharing option more secure. You can share documents with an expiration date and time or password-protect documents and folders. 

With Google Drive, you can share a link that offers the user permission to view or edit files, but if you want to remove access to files, you have to disable the share link entirely. 

It's a close one here, but Dropbox squeezes in to take the win.

Syncing

When it comes to syncing files, Dropbox and Google Drive use two different methods. Both automatically save files, but Google downloads and uploads the entire document when syncing. This means that you may experience a delay if you're trying to access the latest version of a document on a different device.

Dropbox syncs changes in blocks — a faster method and one that’s unlikely to be delayed. If you're collaborating on a document with someone in real-time, the changes to the doc will appear more quickly than in Google.

When it comes time to sync files, Dropbox works best — if speed is important to you.

Integrations

When it comes to integrations, there is no clear winner when comparing Dropbox vs. Google Drive. Both Dropbox and Google Drive integrate with a variety of tools that your team may already be using, like Slack and Adobe. 

While there are some differences in integrations, the best option for you will depend on which tools your team uses most often. For instance, Dropbox integrates with Microsoft Office 365, while Google Drive is part of Google Workspace, which offers Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and more.

No one wins this round...

Price

While price shouldn't be the only consideration when choosing cloud storage, it is important that whichever option you choose fits your budget. 

While both of these options allow you to take advantage of free storage space, this is one area where Google Drive clearly beats Dropbox. For its free plan option, Dropbox offers 2 GB of free storage space while Google Drive offers 15 GB. 

For business pricing, Google Drive offers more flexibility in both plans and pricing. Dropbox enterprise plans have a minimum number of users, and the cost is per user. While Google Drive does not have a minimum number of users for each plan, making it more affordable for those who don't hit the minimum user requirement. (You're also getting Google Workspace, so you get everything that comes with it — including a business email address.)

Overall, Google wins on pricing.


See how Air compares

Like Google Drive and Dropbox, Air takes a unique approach to cloud storage. Air was designed with the specific needs of collaborative creative teams in mind. Our goal is to make creativity easy, fast, and fun, and we do that by providing creative teams with a visual workspace and seamless collaboration tools.

We know that creative teams often have to work with both internal and external partners like freelancers. While these types of partnerships aren't prioritized on platforms like Dropbox or Google, they are a focus for Air. With advanced link permissions and custom permissions for guest collaborators, it's easy to ensure that the right people have the right access to the right files when they need them. (No more delayed projects while a partner is waiting for access!)

Google Drive and Dropbox also require you to use many different tools to collaborate on different types of content. On the other hand, collaboration is at the heart of Air's functionality and features. Teams can collect, review, and approve content all in one place, making it easier to keep track of all the moving pieces and feedback from different stakeholders.

See how Air works as a Dropbox alternative and as a Google Drive alternative to better understand how this unique solution changes the game for creative teams.

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