Google, Internet search giant and dabbler in fields as diverse as virtual globes and self-driving cars, has set its sights on Dropbox, a Web-based file hosting service. According to The Next Web, Google Drive will feature up to 5GB of online storage for free (at least initially), that it will use “desktop folders” to make it easy to integrate the service on both Macs and Windows machines, and that users will be able to access their data on their computers, smartphones or tablets. Synchronization ensures that when you update your files in one location, they will automatically update on all the other platforms. TWN reports that the service will roll out in the middle of next week.
So how does Google Drive (what little we actually know about it) stack up against Dropbox?
Storage Capacity: Dropbox offers 2GB of storage for free as its basic plan, and users can upgrade to Pro 50 (50GB for $9.99/month or $99/year), Pro 100 (100GB for $19.99/month or $199/year) or Teams, which allows groups of users to share a single large storage space (free for 2GB of storage capacity and up to $200/year for 100GB). Google Drive will apparently deliver 5GB of free storage; details about paid plans (if any) have yet to be released.
Synchronization: Both Dropbox and Google Drive offer complete synchronization of files across multiple devices — make a change to your files in one place and Dropbox and Google Drive will automatically update the files everywhere else.
Offline Capability: Dropbox allows users to access their files even when offline. It’s not clear yet if Google Drive will offer the same service.
Folder Sharing: Users on Dropbox can invite others to view and share folders. Although no details have emerged about folder sharing on Google Drive, given the service’s close connection with Google Docs it seems likely that Google Drive will allow users to share files and folders with others.
Mobile App: Dropbox is available for the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android phones and tablets. Thanks to TWN, we already know that a Google Drive Android app is in the works, and it’s a fair bet that an iOS app is on the way as well.
Data Encryption: To protect users’ files, Dropbox offers 256-bit encryption and SSL security. Details about the security features of Google Drive have yet to be released.