Cloud storage is available in many different shapes and sizes. The ability to synchronize and have access to your files on smartphones, tablets, laptops, workstations, and collaborating with other people has made this “must have” technology for many.
The big 3 (Google, Apple, and Microsoft) all have their own offerings tying into their software and devices. Dropbox was one of the first available. Choosing a solution depends on what you want to do and what devices you own.
iCloud is really a single user solution and doesn’t work well for collaborating. It also has small file size limits. However it is fantastic for people who own Apple devices (iphones, ipads, macs) and use iTunes.
Google Drive is integral with their Google Docs web applications and is an easy web based solution.
SkyDrive hooks in great with Microsoft products, connects natively with Windows 8, and is the only solution for Windows Phone. Check out my prior post regarding sharing photos on SkyDrive.
Dropbox is fantastic for sharing files among different devices and with other people.
Here is a quick summary of the 4 offerings:
- 5 GB Free
- Additional Storage 50 GB is $100/yr
- Windows, Mac, iOS
- Great with Mac, iOS, and iTunes
- Small limit on file sizes (25 MB with the free and 250 MB with any paid)
- 7 GB Free
- Additional Storage 100 GB is $50/yr
- Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone
- Works great and integrates with Microsoft Office and Windows
- 2 GB limit on maximum file size
- 15 GB Free
- Premium space: $59.88/year for 100GB
- Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
- Great with Google Docs and Web Applications
- 10 GB limit on maximum file size
- 2 GB Free
- Premium space: $99/year for 100GB
- Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, Android, BlackBerry
- Great file synchronization with just about any program/app
- No limit on maximum file size
145 thoughts on “Comparing Free Online Cloud Storage Offerings: DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud, SkyDrive”
For me, out of those 4 I prefer DropBox since it is compatible with almost anything, no matter what os/device/brand, it just works =).
Unlike Apple or Microsoft products they are like the rival of this industry and I personally think they will not work as well on each others products.
The only down side for DropBox is you start with small available space, but then you can either buy or invite friends to get more gb.
I also like Dropbox the best. I feel like Apple and Microsoft shouldn’t have a monopoly on all things computer based. I kind of feel the same way about Google and the internet; however, I do like Google drive.
Yep I like Google products too. Google’s product always seem to be very efficient and fast. But I guess they released too late I already have tons of stuff on DropBox which I am too lazy to switch =P.
I tried getting more space for Dropbox by sharing it on my social networks. I did get additional MBs but it’s hard for me to get my friends to use the service. It’s part of why I’ve been praying for Ubuntu to get a native Google Drive client.
I started using Google Drive a couple of months ago, and so far I’ve found it good for personal storage, although I’ve yet to use it to share with friends. Dropbox sounds like a great option as well, being compatible with pretty much all devices and OSs, but as wasape mentioned, it does seem like a tiny amount of storage to start with. I suppose it depends what you want to store though – if it’s only small documents and photos, it would probably take a while to use it up.
I use Google Drive, it’s an awesome storage system. Especially with the amount of space you get free, and the cost to upgrade is cheap. Also, the file sharing is phenomenal, with automatic virus checks on most files, and a speedy download.
I see no reason to every use any other cloud storage system.
Thanks for the article. I am so used to always either carrying a USB stick or emailing a file to myself. But now that I read the article |cloud store seems to be the way to go. This will definitely help better organize my school-related files.
As a student I must say that I’m a fan of the Google Drive because of how well accessible it is. Any device with internet connection is able to access it. Also I didn’t need to make a separate account to keep track of it because I already had a Google account that I was using for a ton of different things. And don’t forget about Google Docs, a great free alternative. My school gave out really bad netbooks and we had to get our own word processing software and we were recommended to get OpenOffice, but I found Google docs to do everything that OpenOffice can do but without that terrible UI. Good article though, if I ever need more room for storage, I know where to go.
Google drive/docs are also great because you’ll be able to collaborate with other students even if they’re on a different OS. OpenOffice does the same, but I’ve found it pretty unstable, and it’s just another program to install.
Oh yes I totally forgot about this. I’m going camping with a bunch of friends in a couple of weeks and we’ve been using a google docs spredsheet to plan everything. It’s so easy to use, you don’t even need a google account to edit it as a guest.
Oh, I was under the false impression that in order to share files on Google drive, the other person also had to be signed up for it. In that case, I think GD may trump Dropbox just because of the storage capacity.
I like Google Drive a lot. It seems to be really convenient for me and I like how I can make short surveys from their templates too.Google Drive actually has 15GB free space rather than the 5Gb you mentioned. I use Dropbox and iCloud too. I’m still trying to get used to Skydrive after your previous post too.
Thanks, I updated the info.
I believed it was about time to start looking into cloud storage, starting college and all. But then I’m concerned about: what if I don’t have a constant access to internet? Or what if I was in a hurry and the internet just happen to become unstable, like today with the storm. It’s certainly messy with USB flash drives and they might get corrupted… But there’s downsides to everything. It’s really hard to choose.
I personally also have an account on Dropbox but as everyone said, you start off with so little space.Maybe I should make use of the other three as well.
With school stuff, I used to back it up with cloud storage -and- a USB flash drive. I didn’t need to store all my documents on the flash drive though. I just used it for projects that I was currently working on. Basically for instant access, I use the USB drive and if I need to access older files or if the flash drive is corrupted, I turn to cloud storage.
I feel that it really is time I stopped backing up my files by storing them on numerous USB memory sticks and opened a cloud account. When they they first came onto the scene I didn’t take any notice because I thought they were just a fancy fad that would be gone within six months.
Microsoft’s version will be the one I’ll plump for, seeing as both my laptops use the Windows operating system (7 & 8 respectively) and my smart phone is a Windows Phone.
Ha, I am in the same boat as you! I have 3 external drives and two USB sticks that have everything backed up. It is cheaper to start using cloud storage. Also, it obviates the risk of damaging a physical drive and losing everything. That has happened to me once before and it is quite distressing.
I’m currently using SkyDrive (called OneDrive now) because it’s really my only viable solution. Plus, it works really well anywhere I need to use it (auto photo backup is very nice, it integrates with Windows 8 and WP8, and the online client is great). I don’t have any reason to want to try out the alternatives for now.
I love having dropbox. Friends and I use to share photos from trips/days where it doesn’t make sense to all be taking the same picture a bunch of times. And I use google drive to collaborate on documents with other people. I love that we can all have it open at the same time. I don’t currently back up to iCloud even though I could but maybe I should reconsider?
Given the amount of space they provide free, I don’t suppose there’s a harm to make use of each of the storage. We’re bound to use them eventually in our long lives.Personally, if I wasn’t too lazy I would do the same time instead of saving things onto a USB – logging in a downloading everything I need and uploading it again is just not really time efficient for me.
Though I suppose I should start associating myself with Google Drive being in college and all.
Thanks for the wonderful post comparing all the different online storage possibility s. Right now I am a big fan, of Dropbox. Also another one you failed to mention, was Copy.com. This is another great way to save your files, and access them from anywhere in the world.
Google Drive is the best in my opinion. There is a large capacity stokage and is compatible with almost all systems.
Dropbox is great, but there is only 2GB available.
I advise everyone to use Google Drive.
I like Dropbox because it was easy to adapt to, allows me to upload larger files, and syncs across so many platforms. I just have two complaints. First, the free storage amount is so small I ended up getting a premium account which isn’t necessarily a con, but the price tag was pretty steep. Second, it takes FOREVER to upload my files and I allegedly have the fastest internet possible (if you believe Comcast).
When my premium membership expires I’ll probably check out Google Drive. I appreciate everyone who chimed in with their own experiences!
Great blog post. I had never heard of Apple iCloud before.
I agree about the inordinate amount of time it takes to upload files. More than a few times with Dropbox, I thought something happened with the file and tried re-syncing and uploading again only to find it worked the first time properly-albeit ridiculously slowly. I need to learn patience. 🙂
I’ve used all but Apple iCloud. I wasn’t sure of cloud storage at first but I’ve slowly but surely come to like it.
We used Dropbox for one of my classes last year at university, because it was an easy and reliable way to share and store the PowerPoint presentations and files that were used in the lessons so that we could access the things we’d learned when it came to writing our assignments.
Google Drive is probably the one I use the most. I use it to access work I’ve done from home when I need to use it when I’m at university. Simple and practical to use.
My preference is Dropbox, but I do wish the free accounts offered more storage. I also have used Google drive, but as far as I know you can only transfer files with other people who also use that service. Please correct me if I am wrong. With Dropbox I know I can grant anyone access irregardless of whether or not they have an account.
Thank you David for your efforts to provide us with all this useful information. Cloud storage has come a long way and it certainly will progress a lot in the future. I’m just wondering how the release of the BitTorrent Sync service will affect the use of cloud storage as it offers a way around it.
I used to use Google Drive but a couple of months ago DropBox had a “Space Race” where universities from all around the world would compete for space, so who ever signed the most users up with official college emails, that school’s students would get a bigger space allocation (sorry if I made it sounds over-complicated).
So all in all, now my DropBox is currently sitting at 28,2 Gb and it will stay at that size for at least 2 years (hopefully they don’t take it down even after that time).
If it does go back to 2Gb then my only choice is going back to Google Drive as the size difference is very important to me.
Thank you so much for the article. It was great to see a breakdown of free cloud storage offerings. It makes it so much clearer and easier to understand! I personally have an iPhone but have not attempted to use the iCloud service available in settings. I’m looking forward to trying it out though! It seems like many readers are a fan of Google Drive and I’ll make sure to look more into that for my cloud storage needs.
Never gave Google Drive a try but after all the nice feedback I feel like I should.
Although Dropbox saved my life countless times for school I think more storage space could be useful. Thanks for the quick summery helped me decide to finally move on to Google Drive ^.^
I used Dropbox and iCloud. I prefer Dropbox as it is very easy to use and compatible with every device I own. I had never heard of Google Drive but it sounds like a great option as well, plus 15 GB free is hard to pass up. I’m gonna give Google Drive a try. Thanks!
Great post on the break down of the top 4 most popular cloud storage solutions. Google drive is a big favorite at most companies I go to, with icloud then dropbox.
I use to use Dropbox all the time and was my go to for when I needed a file that was accessible in this manner. But after the few security debacles that Dropbox has suffered I started looking for other services similar to it. I ended up finding justcloud to be just as nice as dropbox and their free is decently comparable, though they are kind of spammy in their emails just as a warning.
As other people say. A drop box is my favorite too. First impression of Dropbox is its user interface and cross-platform. I can use it to sync between my computer and mobile devices without any hassles. Only con of Dropbox is its 2GB free space which can be upgraded for large sums of money in monthly basis. Usually we are getting 50GB of free space in mediafire, mega, etc. Currelty I am using all of those mention above due to their free spaces, can’t afford paid spaces at the moment.
Google always gives the most space free. Even when it comes to their email servers, Yahoo and other email accounts don’t offer you the space that Google does. The good thing with google also is that they continue to increase their storage space. I however do feel unsafe with Air drives and feel that my important files are being left in other peoples possession for me is a very big risk.
I honestly would like to use Google Drive but there’s no native client on Linux yet. So far, I’ve tried Ubuntu One (it’s not listed) which is also multiplatform like DropBox and offers 5 GB of storage for free. I’ve had problems with it though, with file conflicts arising from using it on 2 devices. Maybe others would have better luck with Ubuntu One.
Right now, I have most of my important files on DropBox. I hope I won’t have the same problems I’ve had with Ubuntu One but 2 GB is so small. I’ll either wait for a native Google Drive client or check for another cloud storage options.
Dropbox is one of the best services that i have ever used. You can easily update anything on it. Previously, i was using Google Drive for my work but i have switched most of my tasks to Google Drive. However, Dropbox is still the best solution to save my personal faimly photos.
I don’t like the principle of cloud storages. We’re seeing these days and weeks how much we are getting spied on and I don’t want to share sensitive data this way
On the other hand it surely is a good way to share files that are not that sensitive.
I agree with you, jellyfish. I also hate the idea of being spied on. Google already has a lot of ways to spy like Google Earth and such! And now, there’s also Google Drive, which looks the best cloud storage option. And I’m not talking just about G, because everyone can do it. It’s just that Google seems to be present everywhere, in almost all areas of our lives and maybe this is not a good thing. Of well, maybe that’s just the paranoia in me speaking.
Nonetheless, it’s great to be able to store files and such this way, I only wonder how much privacy you really have.
I’m sure they’re spying on the data I’ve uploaded to their servers. The thing is, I also do check what I upload. I don’t think Google and the other cloud storage companies would be doing a lot of things with my game files and articles, so I guess it’s okay.
Thanks for the stat comparisons! I’ve been looking into online storage and this made it pretty clear which I will be going with. Google Drive seems the best overall and it is the one I will be using.
Thanks for such an awesome breakdown. From the breakdown, it seems that Dropbox and Google Drive are better choices. Does anyone know about copy.com?…i just researched about it and found that you can get free 15GB storage but I am not sure if it’s a trustworthy site or just a scam.
Heh, I’m trying it out. If you get an account through a referral and install the app (it’s multiplatform), you and the one who referred you to Copy.com will get an additional 5 GB of data. I already got mine so my total is 20 GB. I’m going to check for more info on it. Here’s my referral link: https://copy.com?r=INLaav
If your running a large corporation and already have a heavy Microsoft based system, like using their mail servers and databases, then I would go with Skydrive. If you have flexibility are dealing with large files and many access points, then the best tool out there is Google Drive. They have strong reliable networks that easily handle large data transfers. Plus the tools are intuitive especially for new users.
However, if you are dealing with the need for a common workspace that just needs to share various forms of data in pick up and drop off form, go with Dropbox. I just don’t like the lag of Dropbox for dealing with a working community that is constantly updating. Just my thoughts.
I prefer Dropbox because it is not tied to any device ecosystem like icloud and skydrive. Also it is compatible with more platforms like iOS, Windows, Mac, Android devices and even Linux. Google drive is cheaper though.
I mostly use Dropbox for the files I need constantly because I can access it from everywhere I want to and because they ran a students program a few months ago, I now have 16.5 GB of space which is much larger than any other free service. But I also use and the other services to store files I might need in case of damage at my computer and files I don’t want to lose.
Thanks for posting this. I did not know that Google drive increased to 15gb. I haven’t used it for awhile. One of the annoying aspects of Google drive was the fact that you can delete a file from the drive but you don’t recover the space unless you log in and empty the trash. I know it’s a small thing but extra clicks are extra clicks!
I use iCloud for personal use, as I have an iPhone, iPad and Macbook Pro- it’s easier to have it all synced together.
For professional use, I have been using dropbox, but I think I am going to switch over to Google Drive. I already use Google Calendars and Docs for work, and especially with 15GB free, I think it will be easier to just have all of my work stuff connected through Google.
The only cloud storage on that list that I haven’t used yet is SkyDrive. I generally use Google Drive for collaborations and file sharing with my colleagues and students. I use iCloud for personal use and I use Dropbox to share/send my videos to whoever needs them. Among these three, Google Drive is the most utilized. Us teachers share our syllabi and lesson plans. I use the spreadsheets to compute grades and to create quotations for my clients. I also create presentations for my lectures and client presentations.
I think it’s difficult to compare those cloud services for a number of reasons. iCloud, for example, is about as far away from something like DropBox as possible. It’s something that for the most part you “set and forget”.
For most people iCloud Backup will be the primary way they actually use iCloud, and that’s done when you’re away from your iDevice, all automatically. For me, that’s when the cloud really shines.
As well as that, DropBox has always been for more general files, whilst Google Drive and SkyDrive are both now arguably optimised for documents etc. They all serve different purposes, I guess is what I’m trying to say. I’m happy to use all four of them, for different things.
My go to is dropbox because my husband and I share files through it on our network. However, I have been using Google Drive a lot the last few weeks because I find it’s platform much easier to use. I also like that my files are stored for easy access to update or change on the internet and files can also be exported or imported. Basically I use them both for different things and they both suit my needs.
That’s a good point you make, about how they are so different you can’t fairly compare them. I think this article is more about highlighting key features and differences than comparisons. Your comment highlights these key features and really helps to highlight what service is best for what kind of users.
Exactly what I do as well. Google Drive is good for saving documents and stuff and the integration of google docs really makes it appealing.
However Dropbox has it’s own merits as its makes sharing content very easy.
Yes, that has also been my experience for some time now. Google Docs and Google Drive are essentials for me at this point.
As the two services are so seamlessly integrated, it has created a very useful synergy, making Google Drive much more than mere storage. I’m glad to have these services both for my own work as well as for the collaborative work I do.
I am curious to see what is next, as Google tends to enhance their various services continually. More storage space for free and/or reduced cost would be great!
I love Google Drive myself. Now I haven’t tried those other ones, but I never really had a need to either. Why venture into the unknown when you got everything you need at home…or at Google Drive as it were.
Since Dropbox was the first one available and it was, and still is,very convenient if you need to work in a team, never really bothered checking out the other ones.
since I have a Gmail address and with that mail-address comes a Google Drive however I started using that for things I got in my mail or just conveniently opened in the Google online office suite. I find Google Drive a typical Google product: clean, efficient, nice to work with. I would have changed my whole cloud storage to Google Drive already if it wasn’t for a “competition” Dropbox had for colleges and universities a while back through which I enlarged my storage capacity on Dropbox to almost 50 GB, so I’ll stick to using both for the time being
I would love to use cloud storage for all of my video and music files, but my internet service provider does not offer a very fast upload speed. I have used cloud storage for personal documents in the past, but I am worried about how secure my files are. I mean, what is to stop employees of Google, Apple, Dropbox and Microsoft searching for confidentially files hosted on their company’s servers and then using the information found for personal gain?
I don’t think there’s anything that can stop Google to check our data in their servers but I’ve heard that they’re experimenting with data encrytion within Google Drive. Same with SkyDrive, in that I haven’t read anything about encryption on their side. The good thing is there are still other options, just that they’re not as much as available as the more prominent one in multiple devices.
Ah this is just what I was looking for, there are so many cloud storage services its hard to know which one to choose. This made my decision a lot easier I’m going to go with Google drive. However it was close between Google Drive and DropBox due to Drop Box being accessible on more devices.
From my own experience, I have had a good user experience from both Google and Dropbox.
I would suggest perhaps that Dropbox is more suited to the work environment , sharing project documents between sites or businesses where the size restrictions would likely not be so much of an issue.
Google is easy to use, good amount of storage space and reasonably priced should you want more too, and would be my choice for personal files, be it photographs , documents, or as I am finding, the video files the new batch of DSLR cameras produce, which are sizable (too much do for Dropbox) but not over the Google file size limits.
I’ve recently learned of a new competitor on the market, even though I don’t think it’ll last long, shared.com is offering 100Gb of space to free users. There is however no program available to let it sync automatically, but it might be interesting to have as a larger amount of space for free.
For work I usually stick to Google drive since it works with Google docs so well and it means I can change documents in browser (which can be a real lifesaver!).
However for personal stuff I tend to use Dropbox. I just really like the UI and how it works. I also really like how easy it is to send someone a folder or a file using drop box.
I would probably give iCloud ago but I’ve never really had an apple device.
I am a loyal Google Drive user. I’ve been using GMail for ages, and stuck with it as they upgraded from mail to the cloud services they offer now. As a college student, I try to save as much money as possible, which meant I didn’t even buy Microsoft Office. Google Docs is all I need, and I use it for spreadsheets and writing. I love that it integrates so seamlessly with Drive, because I often need to switch computers. Thanks to Google Drive, I never have to use a flash drive anymore.
@fanboy252, your experience is very similar to mine. I had been using Google Docs for quite some time. I found it very useful both for my own work as well as work I have done in collaboration with others. I made the transition to Google Drive and I continue to work much as I had previously. I really like the accessibility from all computers and mobile devices.
I know what you mean about Microsoft Office; I saved that expense as well as I use Open Office as well as Google Docs. Between the two, this more than covers my needs.
I do believe in redundancy with backups and that you can never backup enough. So in addition to Google Drive i also use flash drives for my most important files, and I also use Carbonite to back up all my computer files.
I personally like Google Drive. Google is just so reliable and really know what we want.I do wish that they would give a little more for free, like 40 GB, but I guess there has to be a stopping point at some time. I haven’t bought premium yet, but it is certainly on my to do list.
Oh, I just found out that there are ways to increase your Dropbox storage for free. I’ve done most that I can and it’s only at almost 3GB. The tasks for getting more storage involve sharing Dropbox to your different social networks. Not complaining but I could probably just work with the other free online storage offerings.
I’m kind of paranoid in backing up my files, so I use both Google Drive and DropBox, although I must say I prefer DropBox more since it’s compatible with anything and in my opinion has a better interface and just works better.
Automatic image uploading and compatibility with camera is also a huge plus.
Do you use the offline sync tool for either of the services? They both have an agent that can run on your computer that will add a folder where you can drag and drop files for upload. This is a great way to keep some files synced across several devices without needing to log in to the service each time you want to access them.
I don’t often use the cloud for backing up my documents. I don’t feel it’s nearly as reliable as an external hard drive or as secure. However, I do use Google Drive for storing copies of documents mainly because I use a lot of Google products.
I really think that Google drive is the best answer when you are debating on cloud saves. Well I think this because just because it hays the most space with a massive 15 GB of free space and you can always upgrade.
I personally prefer Google Drive as well – however I have one particular issue that I dislike about it. The space that they provide you is shared across your Google services, so lets say you have a lot of email attachments in your gmail, that will take up a portion of your Drive space.
15GB is a lot, but you can easily run over if you don’t monitor your email account.
Thanks for that info. I’ve been slacking on my email maintenance and I believe I have around 415 unread messages now. Fortunately, I don’t think I receive big attachments from people, I just need to have the time to clean it up before it bloats my account.
My school has been using Google Drive forever and it lets you store things and create documents and such right in the browser which is spectacular. It’s always been a lifesaver when I don’t have Microsoft Word installed or if I’m in a hurry to go. You can just create the document and share it to your teacher with a few clicks of a mouse. Wonderful service created by Google and it has made my life a lot easier and is even better with the 15GB limit.
Only ones I’ve used until today were Google Drive and Dropbox, left google drive just for a matter of personal preference, dropbox is quite the awesomeness, have one with 31ish GB, free of cost due to some university promotions, use it on a daily basis be it just for hosting pictures and spread them around the web, or just to send/managing work files aswell as keeping them updated all the time with their desktop application, google drive offers these services aswell so you’ll be fine with any of these two, as I mentioned earlier, in the end it all comes to personal preference.
Thanks for the article. My collegues and I have been wondering what to choose to create a space where we can share all the study related documents and projects from the university. We’ve been using FB for now, but this is def not the best solution, LOL! I was rooting for Dropbox, while another person prefered SkyDrive. But no one of us have considered GD so far. I will bring it to the discussion and forward them to the article. We still have about a month to decide it before the school year starts.
I’ve preferred to use Google Drive simply because it is so well integrated with the rest of my Google applications/services. Then again, that’s one of the major pitfalls of Google Drive is that it shares its capacity with the other services that Google hosts for you.
I’ve used (and still sometimes do) dropbox and found that it’s perfectly suited to the job, especially with the offline sync tool, but again, the Google integration is what’s missing for me.
Really appreciate this post as it’s always great for people to see all the options available to them when it comes to online storage. I myself use Apple’s ICloud since it works so well in conjunction with my ITunes content. I haven’t used Google Drive but Dropbox works great as well.
Google Drive is great since I’ve been using Gmail for years now. Drop box is my second favorite but since I got Google drive, I’ve been using it less. Its pretty nice that google gives 15G free space for sharing, or even storing data, I wouldn’t store any sensitive or personal data there though.
For me, Dropbox is the easiest to use compared to the others, but yeah, the free storage allocation is really small. I normally just use it for very interim files, something that I just need to work on for the day.
Good basic comparison of the options; a great quick reference. I tend to use Google Drive the most, because its so easy with my Gmail account. My computer has SkyDrive automatically installed, but I really just ignore it. I’ve used Dropbox for photos mostly and found it filled up quite quickly (but overall, worked well).
I read some of the comments quickly, and tend to agree with not wanting one company to have a monopoly of control over a type of product. However, I suspect most people don’t consider that, and go with what works best for them.
We use Dropbox in our office, it’s very easy to get connected with your office mates and other branches of the establishment around the country because it’s synchronized and has no file limit. It’s cool and it’s very easy to use.
I have only used DropBox, but I will look into these other companies and see how they do. It is always wise to make sure your important documents are backed up and safe. Thank you for this great post.
Dropbox was actually the first cloud service I was introduced to a while back. I’ve been a fan of Google Drive for the last few of years, out of simplicity, since my email account is through Google, anyway. I’m sure the others are great in their own right, but it’s interesting to see Dropbox allows unlimited file size. Grabbing a subscription with them may be worth it for me just to hold a few large archives.
I love all of these services, but they all have there pluses and their negatives. I wish there would be one service that takes all of the great things in all of these services and combines it into one great cloud storage service. For example Dropbox is great because you literally just drop the files you want to sync into a box (well, technically a folder). But it only has 2GB of storage.
I really need to focus on learning more about cloud storage! This isn’t a new thing right out of the box. It has been around for a while now and all I really know about it is what I learned from those, “Get me to the cloud!” television commercials from a while back. You’ve helped with that issue quite a bit here. This article put it all out there in easy to see sections so that I can finally make a good comparison between some of the more popular concepts on the market. Thank you!
I use to have some very important documents saved on dropbox, as it was easy to access anywhere i was, but apparently one day they decided to close my account and i lost everything in it. Since then i have been using google, since its a more reputatable name, and i have been loving it
Did they inform you why they closed your account? That sounds pretty dodgy but I’d like to keep an open mind and know what possible grounds can DropBox just do that. The number of files I keep with DropBox isn’t that many but those are pretty important to me.
I’ve often wondered what options were out there for cloud storage. I am not sure if I feel comfortable putting my personal information or my business’s information on a cloud for storage. Especially considering the latest news rolling out about big brother’s prism programs. I wonder if there will be a backlash against cloud storage as a result? Out of the options listed above, skydrive seems the most interesting. Dropbox also looks like a nice service too.
Yes, I can understand those concerns especially in light of what we know about Prism and other such violations of our privacy. Who knows how far it will go, this kind of intrusiveness.
So there are these tradeoffs with cloud storage. As I see it, one of the main advantages of the cloud is that it is remote storage and backups are safe from physical harm or theft. But with cloud storage of sensitive documents — and perhaps for everything, generally — data encryption would be in order.
OK, thank you for your informative reply. So, I should always be encrypting my data that is stored on clouds. I am new to cloud storage so I am learning. I have a hard time trusting anyone who is offering to store my sensitive information. I actually used to use my e-mail accounts to store data until I learned that e-mail providers often accessed user e-mails without any hesitation. I guess that was sort of like cloud storage before today’s type of cloud storage debuted.
Out of the 4 I use both Skydrive from Hotmail, and Google’s Google drive.
I use Skydrive purely because I can access it quickly whenever I am on my Hotmail account. However, I really am not a fan of hotmail’s GUI and interface any more, so when I use it I get a bit irritated.
I really like Google Drive because there is plenty of room. I also use Google docs a fair amount for both university work and in-office work.
I have never used the other 2 but I am strongly considering signing up to Dropbox when I run out of space on my current locations.
I have a Dropbox account and based on my experience it is really great. The thing I love about cloud storage is that even though my hard drive is full i can still store information and very precious documents. With Dropbox you can even refer people and in return gain more megabytes of space.
I’ve said this before, but I use Google Drive – an obvious choice, since I have an entire terabyte (yes, 1000GB!) free with my Chromebook Pixel!
It’s very, very useful, especially for school. Started a project at the school computer lab? Don’t have to mess with USB sticks, just close the browser and it’ll be ready to continue right at home, at your grandparents, at the International Space Station even! (if they have coverage…)
I currently use DropBox as my primarily online cloud storage. I like it so far although it doesn’t offer much space, which is only 2GB storage memory for the basic plan. It is still enough for me because I mostly upload photos on DropBox. The good thing about DropBox is that it has the application for my Android device, which I can connect to series device with one single account. I will check out other cloud storage websites as well. Thank you for the recommendations!
I use DropBox and I think it’s the best. Google Drive and SkyDrive pose alot of competition to each other and dropbox. But I think if I had to choose between them it would be Google Drive. My favorite thing about Drive is that you can create presentations,power-points, etc.
For me it is Google Drive, drop box would be second for me. Microsoft and Apple just compete and half the time there products are no compatible and will not work on various devices. Google Drive just sync’s so easily and can be accessed by pretty much every device I have ever tried it on. Drop box does have its draw backs but a good second choice.
I’ve been a Dropbox user for a few years now, but my biggest complaint has been lack of space. After reading this review, I think I’ll be making the switch to Google Drive. With 15GB of free space, it really can’t be beat. Thank you so much for posting this informative review.
I have everything, and by the logic of which came first, I prefer Dropbox! It’s just available everywhere…. However, I did see the power of Google Drive in terms of the storage size. My colleague was away and didn’t have access to VPN and forgot to send me a 3GB compressed file, so she shared it to me via Google Drive. Well it took me 15 minutes to download and set-it up on my local PC, but nonetheless Google Drive wouldn’t be able to do that.
Perhaps once I run out of storage in Dropbox, I’ll move everything to Google Drive.
Meanwhile, SkyDrive and iCloud are just my last resort.. Haha
As others have mentioned, I prefer DropBox because it has no platform lockin – iCloud is Apple, Google Drive is Google, SkyCloud is Microsoft. DropBox works great across all 3 platforms and has no platform lockins. I can sync between different platfoms without issue and don’t have to worry. Whenever I need to move items between devices, I use DropBox. For collaboration and document editing, however, I use Google Docs for it’s realtime collaboration tools.
Thanks for the comparison.
There are a plethora of cloud storing services out there and it can be pretty overwhelming.
This post clears up some of the confusion for me.
Thank you !
I do prefer drop box, and use it quite a bit. Drop box is compatible with my phone, so I can access my documents anytime. I have bought additional storage space, and it really was not that expensive to do.
Thanks for posting! This is helpful. I use Drive for my personal use and I think it’s great! For work I have used Dropbox, which I also liked quite a bit. I wonder if the synchronization for Dropbox is better or easier to handle with multiple people, than with Drive? I thought that it seemed like it, but I am not as familiar with working with Drive with multiple users.
Great comparison as I’ve been with DropBox for awhile and considered switching to the alternatives. Truthfully though, it has worked amazingly well for me, but seems to really struggle with size restrictions overall. I use it mainly to constantly sync important documents (taxes, etc) in case my PC gets stolen, fails or what have you.
Naturally, I can imagine most people are in the Google camp, but I’m not entirely sure it’s wise to put all your eggs in one basket. How many services Google services and what would happen if someone discovered your master password? Seems like it could be quite the mess…
Among the four, I really love Google Drive. I’ve been using it since six months. It’s really easy to store my personal files and documents. It works well across any platform and I felt that the web based client for Google drive is more efficient than that of other services. You really need an efficient web client because we might not be able to install the respective software for those services everywhere we go. So, I found google drive to be the best solution for online storage.
I would have to go with Dropbox here, mainly because it’s compatible across all platforms. If you get Apple’s iCloud you’re stuck and forced to buy an iOS if you want your old data back, but everything’s fine if you upload it to Dropbox. Originally o chose it because of it’s really sleek interface, but slowly I began to realize the massive benefits of cross platform compatibility, not to mention dropbox gives you tons more ways to earn free space.
I prefer google over all other options because of it’s ease and flexibility. At my previous job, I worked trough google apps all day long and never had a problem. Sharing and collaborating files among colleagues was relatively simple. Dropbox is second on my list, but I admit that I barely ever use it.
Aside from the amount of free storage available, which desktop applications it’s integrated with, the “best” free cloud storage service can simply come down to personal preference regarding the user interface.
WebDrive is an option that lets you access all of these sites using an interface that’s native to the Windows or Mac Operating system – a mapped network drive. This interface means that ALL of your desktop apps are integrated with all of your cloud storage services – rather than Office on SkyDrive (now OneDrive), Google Docs on Google Drive, etc. WebDrive can selectively sync files, but because it does not map the drive to the local sync folder, you don’t have to worry about the security of your files if your device is lost or stolen. WebDrive connects directly to the cloud servers you use. This enables you to access and to work with files in the cloud just as you would on your local computer, for every application, without eating up your local hard drive.
For the one-time expense of a WebDrive license, you can access a consistent interface for all of your sites, and get the benefit of the cumulative amount of free storage.
I personally like iCloud and DropBox. I use both on my iPhone and I find them very useful to for storage. I never used SkyDrive before so I do not know how good of a product it is.
The only thing I use icloud for is backing up my phone. I prefer to use dropbox for file storage because it’s easy to give others access and get to the files from anywhere. You get more storage based on referrals so if you share files with friends and get them to sign up you’ll have plenty of space. I’ve never had a problem with them.
I really love Skydrive for the most part but I use DropBox more often just because of the file syncs.
I’ve always used Dropbox, but it looks to me that I’ll have to be switching to Google Drive soon – the accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection is super tempting! Plus, that many GB for free? AND linking to my email address? Making one now, haha!
Google Drive seems to be the best one of the bunch. This article was actually what I was looking for! I’ll definitely get my hands on a Google Drive account; they are really generous with the amount of free space they offer! Plus the yearly fee isn’t so high, the only thing I didn’t like was the file size limit. That’s not cool at all, but I guess you can’t have it all!
I love DropBox doesn’t have a limit when it comes to file size, but whoa… the premium prize is huge! Plus… just 2 GB free space? Talking about stingy!
Dropbox for me too. I’m on Linux (Ubuntu) and Android ecosystems, others in my circle are using Windows, so the choice of interoperability between these systems is a must for me and my requirements. In my circle iPad and Mac are rather rare, I can live without them.
I would love to transfer to Drive due to more free space, but I find myself to continue using Dropbox. The application is so much easier to use and can sync with all of my devices easily. When Drive creates a better Desktop program, I will definitely switch to them.
Google Drive’s prices have been updated. Now you can get 100 GB on Google Drive for about $24 a year, and about $120 for 1 TB on Google Drive. So far, Google Drive is ahead of the competition when it comes to the ratio of price to storage.
Useful findings. I have tried Dropbox and OneDrive for sharing of documents and they work great. You know what else would be interesting? Predicting someone’s personality based on the types of online cloud storage he uses. They must say something about our personality. When I first used a cloud storage I used the SkyDrive (now called OneDrive) and it appeared to be the most practical thing to do, because we can upgrade or use the free available space for document storage. There wasn’t much talk about cloud storage then, but I figured it was an important aspect of data storage.
Obiously google owns all! They make the most money and of course they can give more to offer than others who are limited. Googles the best in my opinon.
Yes, indeed! I was quite amazed to see Google’s services drop down to an low 59$ per year for 100 GB while the others keep a high 100$ per year. If they afford it, why not? It doesn’t bother me at all, haha!
As someone who does projects and documents with other people, Google Drive is definitely my file storage medium of choice. The integration with gmail (one of the most popular and well-designed emails) is seamless, and everyone with the link can edit the document at once. It is automatically saved with each modification, with previous revisions also readily available. Overall, the most convenient file storage platform I’ve had the pleasure of using. To think that only a couple of years ago we were forced to email countless drafts between correspondents!
By far, I find Google Drive to be the most efficient space for on-line storage. It is very accessible and intuitive for all users. It is very reliable and affordable for greater space needs. I have considered Dropbox too, but there is no competition really. I feel safe to use it as my back-up for my most important and “heavy” files.
Out of habit I’ve defaulted to Dropbox without really considering the alternatives. Realistically, I should be thinking more in terms of Google Drive as my free Dropbox capacity is at the upper end, and I use Google for a lot of things anyway.
Because I’m weaning myself off of the Apple ecosystem, iCloud isn’t much use to me these days.
My biggest concern with cloud storage isn’t really the convenience or user friendliness of the service, but the safety of the storage. I have heard of at least one incident of cloud hacking where personal documents were accessed. I feel like cloud storage would be great if it wasn’t for this problem, anything stored digitally is prone to hacking.
I’ve tried Dropbox, Drive, and Skydrive and dropbox seemed to work the best for me. You only get 2gb to start with but that can be easily upgraded for free. Google Drive and Skydrive seem slow and doesn’t appeal to my needs. If I eventually run out of dropbox space I use Google Drive kind of like an overflow tank.
If any person, on just looking at the comparison, only once, will definitely go for Google Drive!
It is not just the size which is provided, but also a very nice experience of storing all your content online.
I regularly use Google Drive and by far, I think it is the most innovative yet very flexible online storage offered.
I personally use Google Drive- it has great cross-platform support (unless you are using Linux), but the main attraction is the relatively large amount of storage space that you start out with. Unlike Dropbox, you don’t need referrals and stuff to earn more space.
I like how Dropbox becomes another place to put files on your desktop, and I’ve heard there are ways to make automatic backups to Dropbox, but I’ve not yet figured out how. Anyway– Dropbox is my go to for sharing pictures with the family.
I like Google Drive for its applications. As a writer and recently student, it was very easy to take notes on any computer there, or of having a way to continue a story, or to work as a team on a Document or on a Presentation. I have SkyDrive, but I saw no particular perk to it that converted me to it, except when I’m feeling paranoid about my novel and want to save it *everywhere*!
I’m not a fan of iCloud at all. The small amount of storage is definitely a con, and the daily reminder I get on my phone that I’ve used all of my iCloud storage is very annoying. I’ll be sure to give GoogleDrive a shot, it is definitely the strongest competitor of the four.
Google certainly seem to be offering the best deal – they offer more space for free and charge the second lowest fee for premium space. Drop Box looks to be the most versatile though and would be well worth considering if you only need to store a small mount of data.
For me, the winner is Google Drive, hands down. It’s incredibly convenient, since most of my documents come into my Gmail, so I can save them directly into GD. I wish it had an app like DropBox but other than that it’s been awesome. I’ve already used up around 4.5GB so right now I NEED to use GD.
I’m not sure if I want to go the Cloud Storage route because it just doesn’t seem safe. Hackers will eventually get in and if you got some sensitive material stored, it might be exposed. I’d rather just buy a portable hard drive as storage and don’t have to worry about the what if’s.
These cloud storage things are both useful and annoying, partly because people wanting to share things through them with you do not always use the same storage and it gets irritating. I ended up with Dropbox taking up a lot of memory on my phone because a place I was employed by decided to send us information that way. It got really annoying as I much prefer to use Google Drive and a lot of what was sent was irrelevant to the job I was doing.
The small storage space in Dropbox got to be a problem as did the constant receiving of files from said workplace. It was really distracting!
It is annoying to send things and have the person you send them to say things like “I could not see as I don’t have a Google account.” People do not always understand how to use clouds. Some just think they are suspicious and will not touch them.
On the other hand, when I lost all the data from my laptop the fact I had shared everything to a cloud meant my stupidity in not backing up things was not a problem. Most of it was there anyway up in a cloud, so to speak.
However, I do one other thing. I email my files to myself. You never know when a cloud is going to burs and the whole cloud in the sky thing come tumbling down.
Google Drive is my preferred space for storage on my PC. If I can, I’ll use Google Docs before any other option – I absolutely love it!
For a quick file transfer, though? I’ll use Dropbox for the same reason as has been mentioned here repeatedly. It’s just easy and works with everything!
I personally wouldn’t use cloud storage unless it is absolutely necessary. Having all your precious memories or material in a so called secure place like this is skeptical. There are people know as hackers you know. The prices are outrageous as well as these greedy companies are making a fortune. The best thing to do is get an external hard drive to keep your info and avoid this scam.
Well, I have always recommended Dropbox to friends of mine but I am starting to question that decision. To be honest, I have been quite lazy and never tried another one. I really like the looks of Google Drive, though, and maybe I will give it a test drive. However, I see that Dropbox is more universally compatible. This has been a really useful post. Thanks.
to me their all similar in a way. I still would rather save my own material and not leave it up to chance with these companies. Just get a portable hard drive and keep your important material there. Hackers will eventually crack the code just like with anything else online.
I prefer drop box or google drive. Although google drive is easier especially if you use Gmail as your primary email address. I recently had to send some audio files and at first I used drop box but I had to switch to google drive since. The reason being is because I primarily use Yahoo as my email and drop box works well with that but than some of the files got too big and the recipients wasn’t getting the files. Since they use Gmail I switched to that and it worked fine. I do not really like iCloud I never use it and I have not tried SkyDrive. I prefer not use the Cloud period for privacy reasons.
Dropbox is the best of them by far, just by that line: “Great file synchronization”. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you have an internet connection, Dropbox will never keep your files outdated. I even had it on my phone for a while, so I could easily send files from PC to phone and viceversa.
Dropbox is definitely the best, even though the storage is the smallest.
For me is really hard to not use the google drive, once I have all my documents done in google docs. What I do is keeping the documentation part of my work at drive and also my pictures, once you have free storage for this, then I put my day-by-day files at dropbox because I have it for years. At the end, I believe the best way to go is keeping a login at every one for free.
It’s probably lazy of me, but I do use Google Drive more than any other. However, now that most Cloud storage providers are cutting their free allocations, this may be the time to start looking at other options. On the other hand, with separate accounts for different purposes, it’ll still take me a while to use all my Drive allowances.
Great list David!
I have used all of the above cloud storage sites except iCloud.
The reason why I use all of them is because it becomes so easy when everything is available under a single account. Google drive is for my gmail account related stuff. OneDrive for outlook. Dropbox for small files which I don’t need too frequently.
I use other cloud services as well. Like Mega, they offer 50GB of storage and I keep my videos and big files their.
I use Google drive as my main cloud storage. I only use Dropbox because some of my acquaintance use it, leaving me without a choice. However, I really dislike Dropbox and find it difficult to use. In comparison, Google drive makes it extremely user friendly, resulting in higher efficiency. When I am using Dropbox, most of my time are spent figuring out how to do the things I want to do, and at times, it does not even offer that feature.
As for the other two cloud storage, I did not try them out yet. I am planning to give Skydrive a chance and see if it is better than Google drive. If it is better, then I may switch over. However, I highly doubt that there is anything more powerful than Google drive. Currently, I am totally satisfied with Google drive and do not see any problems at all.
I’ve been using Google Drive for a while now and have no reason to complain because I don’t have too many files to store.
I’ve tried some of the other cloud storage sites and for someone who wants a little extra space to store their files without having to spend more money, they are OK.
I have been using both Google drive and Dropbox regularly. Dropbox seems to be more user-friendly as it works across all major networks. Google drive is also good but is a little on the slower side and its file size limit is also a drawback for those handling bigger files. But, overall, cloud storage is very convenient, safe and easy to use.
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