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Google Drive vs Dropbox vs One Drive: Battle of Prominent Cloud Storage

Sarah Kiran

Latest posts by Sarah Kiran (see all)

The title speaks for itself as it is time to review the three most sought-after cloud storage providers today – Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Now, picking the best out of Google Drive vs Dropbox vs OneDrive is no easy task because they are the most popular selected cloud storage for both personal and business users.

So, how do you choose which one of them is the best for your needs?

Well, I can’t give you an easy answer, but I can walk you through a comprehensive comparison between these three, so you can choose what’s best for you.

TLDR;
Skip to our comparison scoreboard directly. Find out who’s the winner in Google Drive vs Dropbox vs Onedrive battle.

A Small Introduction – The Three Prominent Cloud Storage

You’ve probably been introduced to Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

We’ve reviewed and talked about these services before and have highlighted them in the free cloud storage.

Yes, they are free to a certain extent and what makes them the big guns in the cloud storage space is the strength of their standard features.

By standards, I mean that all of these cloud storage services come with Sync Folder, Folder Sharing, File Link Sharing, and Versioning.

Side Note: 

If you don’t know what is versioning – it stores different types of the same file version, allowing you to undo mistakes, for example, a typo in a document or see changes you made by opening an older file copy.

Thus, these standard features make Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive a trendy choice when it comes to the cloud storage space.

However, here’s what makes each of them different from one another. Here are the basics:

Google Drive

Screenshot 1 - Google Drive

Launched in 2012, it was free to use as long as you have a Google account that allows you to store files up to 15GB.

Google Drive does offer more storage, but we’ll reveal more about it later.

Google Drive will enable you to save and share any kind of files with anyone as well as enables you to collaborative edit documents, forms, spreadsheets, and slideshows presentations on their native office applications.

It is available on Windows, OS X, and apps on iOS and Android.

On the side note, Google Drive storage services have been rebranded to Google One.

Google rebranded its Google Drive service pricing plans to Google One, giving it a brand of its own. Read more in our GoogleDrive review.

The paid plans are termed as “Google One” but the cloud storage itself is still named Google Drive.

Furthermore, Google One offers new benefits:

Live Expert Support

Subscriber Perks

You can share your storage quote up to 5 family members by choosing another plan, “Family Plan.”

Dropbox

Screenshot 2 - Dropbox

Similar to Google Drive, they offer 2GB storage in their free accounts known as Dropbox Basic.

Dropbox started in 2007. They do offer paid services which we will discuss further later.

You can use their services to store and share the files with anyone as well as sync files automatically.

Dropbox has apps on Windows, OS X, iOS, Android as well as smaller ones like Kindly Fire, Linux, and Blackberry.

OneDrive

Screenshot 3 - OneDrive

Previously known as SkyDrive, it started in 2014 as part of Microsoft service.

You will get 5GB free with a Microsoft account, but if you’re an Office 365 subscriber, you will have access to 1TB storage.

Similarly, we will discuss further their other service options later on. OneDrive enables you to store any files and organizes them based on the file type.

It’s currently available on OS X, Windows, iOS and Android.

These three can be used for free but if you’re looking to upgrade and you want to know how they differ, let’s take a look in detailed now.

Storage & Cost

As promised, we will discuss the pricing. Which include the plan costs as well as how much storage you’ll get in this range of plans.

But first thing first, all three of them provide personal and business plans.

However, this article will focus more on personal use.

We’ll still look a little bit into the business plans to give more variety of choice prospects for those who want to know more about it.

Google Drive

Screenshot 4 - Google One pricing

As seen above, the prices are self-explanatory.

Google One lengthens its cost plan with more subscription options for more flexibility.

Not to mention, annual subscription options are available with discounts that are a huge advantage in high adaptability for so many users out there.

As previously mentioned, Google One plans allow you to share the subscription of up to 5 family members.

Each member will get their own storage space while maintaining all the privacy individually. Google One subscribers will also receive express support access and other wondrous perks.

As already indicated, this article will focus more on personal use, so Google does provide storage plans for business users who are parked under the G Suite Brand.

Nonetheless, these plans won’t be combined with Google One.

Dropbox

Screenshot 5 - Dropbox pricing

Dropbox may be reasonable in its price plans, but one of the things that stick out from them is their stiffness in their storage plans.

Yes, they do offer 2GB for free space in their Dropbox Basic plan!

But when it comes to Dropbox Plus and Professional, it’s a tremendous amount of storage of 2TB to 3TB.

Some of the highlight features are smart sync, 120-day versioning, and easy to use in shared link settings.

Not to mention, when it comes to subscription cost changes, Dropbox usually only increases rates.

In terms of their business plans, they offer a more versatile approach as they provide either a 2TB or unlimited cloud storage plans, but they require a minimum of 3 users.

OneDrive

Screenshot 6 - Onedrive pricing

Similar to the other two, OneDrive offers a free storage plan, 5GB.

As you can see above, the cheapest plan starts at $1.99 per month for 100GB, moving to the next one which is the 1TB storage space for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year, as well as 6TB for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year.

The difference is that 1TB and 6TB plans offer a year-long subscription to the full Office 365.

It may seem annoying and unnecessary to pay extra for a bunch of software but its quite a nice added-bonus.

It’s quite enticing as it drives up the value of these storage plans that give you access to Microsoft Office Products.

In terms of the business subscription plans, the setup is very similar to the personal plan, but they just offer more storage space.

Other perks are included, such as unlimited storage space, custom domains for mailboxes, and other premium perks.

File & Folder Sharing

Granting file access is one of the golden rules when it comes to cloud storage features.

So, let’s take a look at Google Drive vs Dropbox vs OneDrive under the accessibility category.

Google Drive

Known as one of the most popular cloud storage, Google Drive offers a surprisingly mediocre file sharing characteristics.

It enables you to generate links for files and folders as well as permit permissions such as edit, comment or view.

You can modify the permissions by clicking ‘more’ that allows you to alter the link sharing features.

Screenshot 7 - Google drive sharing

Screenshot 8 - Google drive sharing link

In the sharing settings, you can permit access by entering an email address.

Moreover, there are more options in the “advanced sharing settings” to disable downloads and prevent editors from adding new users.

You can also share the link via Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter.

Their features are straightforward and easy to use.

It doesn’t take a lot to figure out how to use it.

Granting access to files allows other users to collaborate by suggesting comments and edits.

The feature concept is very effortless, but it can be a bit of risk because they do not offer password and expiry dates on the shared links.

Not to mention when it comes to seeing which files and folders are being shared by you, it can’t be seen, but there’s a sharing page to see which files and folders are shared with you.

As a result, it can be easy to lose sight of which files and folders you’ve shared unless you check one-by-one, which can be a nuisance.

Dropbox

Screenshot 9 - Dropbox sharing features

With Dropbox, you can only share files and folders using the web interface. Similar to Google Drive, each file and folder has a shared button.

All you have to do is click it to generate a shared link, which you can copy and paste into emails, chat, documents, social media, or other locations.

Screenshot 10 - Dropbox sharing

On the other hand, you can also enter the email addresses of the other users you want to allow access.

Screenshot 11 - Dropbox invite user

If you’re going to share a folder, you can either allow a view-only or edit access.

One of the most useful parts about Dropbox is that they do present a few file-sharing features to control access.

That includes passwords and expiry dates for shared links and the option to disable downloads.

However, these features are available if you get the Dropbox Professional, which is quite a bummer.

Screenshot 12 - Dropbox Sharing folder

If you ever want to track your shared files, you can use the Dropbox “sharing” page. Under the “links” tab, you can quickly disable shares whereas the “file” and “folder” tabs display the data shared with you.

Screenshot 13 - Dropbox File Request

Under the “file requests” page, you can request files from others by leaving a request description, input a designated folder and add a deadline.

All in all, Dropbox does offer helpful features, especially in their sharing feature, but it would be great if they included them in the Dropbox Plus plan.

One Drive

Screenshot 14 - OneDrive Sharing Features

Compare to the other two, OneDrive does offer secured file-sharing tools that Google Drive does not have, and unlike Dropbox, it doesn’t require extra cost to access them.

Screenshot 15 - OneDrive Send Link

You can authorize access by generating a shared link or use an email address. Either way, you can add passwords and expiry dates if you want to create shared links to limit access.

There’s also a permission option to allow edits and the access links can be automatically posted on social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others if you want to share with a wider audience.

Moreover, you can also review files shared by you and others under the OneDrive “shared” view online.

Be that as it may, OneDrive doesn’t offer a file request feature.

According to some, it’s because the feature is patented under Dropbox [US20160308881A1] since 2015.

It may be better than the other two when it comes to filing and folder sharing features – OneDrive wins!

Storage Synchronization

Let’s be clear about one thing: cloud storage is not just about making space on your device or laptop, but it is also about distributing your data in near real-time across all devices for easy access and simplicity.

Thus to the next point, let’s take a look at Google Drive vs Dropbox vs OneDrive in terms of their storage synchronization feature.

Google Drive

The concept was clear and straightforward – to sync all files stored on your hard drive and in the cloud. Google Drive is accessible through a browser, a mobile app, or a desktop app.

The desktop apps are available for Windows and macOS, but not Linux.

Screenshot 16 - Google drive sync

Once you’ve installed the Google Drive desktop app, you can drag and drop files into the linked folder to sync to your cloud account.

There will be a local copy on your computer, and you can access the same data on any other device as long as the app is installed or through a web browser.

Compare to the other two; Google Drive doesn’t provide a smart sync option as you have to choose which files to backup selectively.

Dropbox

Similar to Google Drive, Dropbox can also be accessed through any web browser, desktop app, or mobile app.

However, it was Dropbox who came up with the desktop app idea first before the other two implemented as well.

Screenshot 17 - Dropbox sync

Along the same lines, you can upload any files by drag and drop feature into Dropbox.

They will be synched immediately, leaving a local copy on your device. You can also share files and folders through a shared link or email invite, and you can collaborate and edit on Microsoft Office Online files, which is similar to Google tools like Google docs and spreadsheets.

Screenshot 18 - Dropbox selective sync

Dropbox also offers a “selective sync” option that allows you to turn sync off to specific files and folders that makes them available online only.

To sum up, one of the best qualities about Dropbox is that it not only syncs fast but it’s more reliable than the other two.

One Drive

Screenshot 19 - Onedrive software download

If you are a Windows user, you automatically have a OneDrive desktop app. Although, you can remove it.

Similarly to the other two, it works the same. It has the drag and drops feature, and you can sync to the cloud and other synced devices.

You can access OneDrive through a desktop app, website, and mobile app.

Screenshot 20 - Onedrive select Sync Folder

You can also selectively sync files, and you can configure it using the desktop app setting tool.

Overall, its features are very basic and straightforward to use.

However, OneDrive runs sync more smoothly than the other two, especially when it comes to Microsoft Office files.

Cloud Storage Applications

Now that we’ve discussed the fundamental elements of useful cloud storage features.

Let’s see how Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive do in terms of application integration.

Cloud storage providers must offer applications as it facilitates productivity and better collaborations. Let’s take a look!

Google Drive

Google Drive web interface is very easy to use. You can see all the features on the web interface, and it doesn’t take a minute or two to figure out how it works.

Screenshot 21 - Google Drive interface

As you can see in the above, all the left side features allow you to access your cloud drives such as your recent files, starred files, shared files, and the backup files as well.

You can click on the “new” button to create a new folder or file.

Screenshot 22 - Google Drive offer great range of office software

When it comes to using files such as documents, spreadsheets, or presentation slides, Google Drive does offer excellent office software.

Not to mention, you can access these files on any device as long as you have downloaded the Google Drive app.

If you prefer using Microsoft Office, there’s a Google Drive plugin that syncs with both Office online and Office 365, which is pretty amazing.

Dropbox

Screenshot 23 - Dropbox interface

Similarly to Google Drive, it offers the same navigation method, but you can find the links on the left side vertically.

The links in the image above are pretty self-explanatory.

If you select the “files” option, it will take you to another page where you can access the files directly.

Unlike Google Drive and OneDrive, Dropbox doesn’t have its office suite, but it does come with Microsoft Office online integration.

In other words, you can edit files using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

Not only that, you can access these files using Microsoft Office Online on the Dropbox app on any device.

OneDrive

Screenshot 24 - Onedrive interface

One of the best features of OneDrive is that they have one of the most beautiful looking web interfaces among other cloud storage providers.

Side Note: 

IMHO, I think pCloud has the cleanest and easiest to use interface. It’s hard to judge since beauty is at the eyes of beholder.

Similarly, like the additional two cloud storage, there are links on the left side where you can view stored files and others as featured above.

Since OneDrive is part of Microsoft, there is a chat icon at the top that can launch Skype sessions, if you have a Skype account.

There are also other Office 365 apps you can access such as Outlook, Calendar, Microsoft Office, and other apps.

Office Online is a web-based version of Microsoft Office that you can use.

If you prefer desktop versions of the different types of Office software, you will need the Office 365 subscriptions.

Privacy & Security

By all means, what’s the point of all this cloud storage if it’s not going to be secured?

The bad news is that these three cloud storage doesn’t support encryption.

That means hackers can get into your storage and access to all of your stored files.

Side Note: 

Sync.com has the full fledge security feature at no extra cost.

When it comes to your privacy, Google, Dropbox, and Microsoft have implemented GDPR policies.

Google Drive

Google Drive implements a TLS cryptographic protocol to encrypt files while in-transit to prevent online snooping.

The files are encrypted with AES 256-bit when transferring, but when it’s at rest, it uses 128-bit.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter which one is being used because both of these are uncrackable.

Moreover, Google provides a two-factor verification, so that’s a great extra layer of protection.

Though Google offers ample security, it’s still not enough to go along for the ride.

Dropbox

Likewise, Dropbox utilizes AES 128-bit when the files are in transit.

When files are at rest, Dropbox uses AES 256-bit for encryption.

Dropbox also offers two-step verification and adjustable security settings in the desktop app to protect yourself.

OneDrive

It may sound repetitive, but the files are encrypted during transit using AES 256-bit.

It’s a shame though there was no encryption for OneDrive consumer at rest.

They also offer two-step verification to protect against password theft.

But it’s so common that it doesn’t provide concrete security features.

Comparison Scoreboard of Google Drive vs Dropbox vs Onedrive

Category G Drive Dropbox Onedrive
Cost

‘Analysis’

0
winner
0
second
0
third
File Sharing

‘Analysis’

0
second
0
third
0
winner
Synchronization

‘Analysis’

0
third
0
winner
0
second
Application

‘Analysis’

0
winner
0
third
0
second
Security

‘Analysis’

AES256 [transmit]

AES128 [rest]
AES128 [transmit]

AES256 [rest]
AES256 [transmit]

0 encrypt [rest]
Score
0
0
0
*Note:
1 Winner of the respective category takes 3 points
2 Runner-up of the respective category takes 1 point
3 Third place of the respective category takes 0 points
4 It’s not comprehensive to decide winner in Security section
5 Try refresh the page if the score did not load

Conclusion

Conclusion of Google drive vs Dropbox vs Onedrive

Choosing between Google Drive vs Dropbox vs OneDrive are eventually depends on your needs to store and back up your files.

And of course, how much you’re willing to pay.

When it comes to pricing, Google Drive beats out of the other two.

Where did Amazon Cloud Drive stance? Find out here in the Amazon Cloud Drive review.

But if you prefer to use Microsoft Office software, then OneDrive offers the best in terms of file sharing and editing.

Google Drive beats the other two when it comes to collaboration, and now that it has been rebranded as Google One, it provides more premium perks for users.

However, when it comes to privacy and security – all three don’t provide robust features and if that’s a big concern for you.

Then, you should check our article on the four most-secured cloud storage.

Cite Sources:
https://lifehacker.com/file-syncing-showdown-google-drive-vs-dropbox-vs-one-1770094376
https://www.dailydot.com/debug/google-drive-vs-onedrive-vs-dropbox/
https://www.androidauthority.com/google-one-vs-dropbox-917551/
https://hosting.review/my/comparison/dropbox-vs-google-drive-vs-onedrive/
https://www.pocket-lint.com/apps/news/google/144486-google-one-and-google-drive-explained-prices

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