Whether you are a freelancer, solopreneur, or small business owner, chances are good that you need secure cloud storage. The two primary providers at the top of the market are Google Drive and Dropbox. So, which one is best for you and your business?
Although both provide the same basic service, deciding which is right for you will depend on your individual needs. In this article, we touch on 3 primary points of comparison to help you determine which is best for you.
- File Access and Management
- Sharing and Collaboration
It is worth mentioning that you can try both Google Drive and Dropbox for free to determine which you prefer. Dropbox provides 2GB of storage with their free plan, and Google Drive provides 15GB. However, Google Drive, Gmail, and Photos share that space. Things get trickier when you have a personal Gmail account and a separate email account for your business. Since Google One is connected to Gmail, any saved business files will mix with your personal files. This creates confusion if not properly managed. It is worth considering before you sign up.
Dropbox offers plans for individuals, teams, and businesses. Since the business plans are designed for larger operations, this comparison focuses exclusively on plans for individuals and teams.
Dropbox offers a robust list of features across all plans. Users can access their account from any Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, or Android device. They also provide Microsoft Office 365 integration, which allows users to edit and save files in Dropbox. With their “Plus button” feature, users can create new Microsoft Office files, upload photos, and scan documents from the Dropbox iPhone app.
All four plans provide web preview, commenting, and file requests. This means users can preview files on the web and leave comments on actual files for review. They can also collect files from others, even those without a Dropbox account. These features are useful for freelancers or small business owners who share documents with clients or contractors since everything is kept in one place.
Dropbox Paper is described as a collaborative workspace for teams, and it is available in all four plans. It can display video, images, code, and sound. The task management tool allows users to assign work to team members as well as due dates on projects. They can also connect Paper to their calendar so that documents are available during meetings. If you collaborate with teams often, this feature may steer you towards Dropbox.
A few features are only available with certain plans because they are for collaborative teams. These are administrative functions necessary for users managing employees and workflows. However, there is a feature that is only available in the Professional and Advanced plans. It’s worth mentioning because it is a useful feature.
Showcase allows users to share work with custom branding, visual previews, and informative captions. Users can track who opens, downloads, or comments on files. It’s a powerful tool if you need to pitch clients, customers, potential investors or partners. Learn more about Showcase here.
Google Drive is technically free up to 15 GB of storage as previously mentioned. If users need more storage, they can purchase space through a Google One subscription. They offer a total of six plans at varying price points for their customers.
Google One markets itself as a storage plan for individuals and families. Compared to Dropbox, the features are sparse. You can store any file type in Google Drive, but integrated collaboration and commenting features are limited to documents created with Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. Stored documents, files, and photos are accessible across multiple devices with the Google Drive app for iPhone or Andriod. However, it’s important to note that only Andriod users have the ability to take a photo of a document and convert it to a PDF within the Google Drive app.
There is a focus on photo and video sharing, and they offer family storage with dedicated space for up to five family members. This doesn’t mean that their services are not useful to freelancers or small business owners. If you currently use Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to create and collaborate with others, then Google Drive may be a natural fit.
Which service is better? There is not a definitive answer because it all depends on your specific needs. While comparing the two, ask yourself:
• How much cloud storage do I need?
• Do I often collaborate on projects with others?
• How will I scale up in the future, and will I add employees?
• Do I need to receive and revise documents from clients?
• What operating system and software do I already use?
Look at your current workflow and imagine it a few years from now with a few employees. Google Drive offers sufficient cloud storage for freelancers who work alone and need storage for basic documents. As you grow, you can add more storage for a reasonable price. However, Dropbox is the clear choice for users who will eventually grow and need a more robust offering of productivity tools.