Google Drive vs Dropbox, Amazon, or Microsoft Sky Drive for Cloud Storage?

Google Drive Storage

There was some great news from Google this week concerning cloud storage, and while it isn’t up to what I want in replacing your hard drive, Google Drive is a great step forward in drive cloud storage with 5GB free, and apparently I’m grandfathered in to my 20GB $5/year plan (see screenshot below). Finally Google put some effort into developing something we can truly use instead of trying to beat Facebook or Twitter at social networking. Eventually, this type of storage is going to do away with our need to keep purchasing more and more hard drives to store our files with only a small flash drive needed on the system for the OS. I have almost 8TB’s of data stored on local hard drives at this point, so this lousy 5GB of storage won’t help that, but it’s a start.

If you aren’t familiar with using cloud storage, until now, there was really only one real option, and that was Dropbox. Yes there are those like Box.com and Amazon Cloud Drive (provide 5 GB), and Microsoft’s SkyDrive (offers 25 GB) who just made some nice improvements this week, probably in anticipation of the release of Google Drive. Each of those have some significant disadvantages, and I don’t ever really consider them to be viable options because of their limitations or issues. Apple’s iCloud is great for backing up devices, but it doesn’t even offer an option for drive storage in the cloud. While I love Dropbox, the basic computer user still isn’t really familiar with Dropbox, and they are with Google. That doesn’t make Google better than Dropbox, but it does make Google Drive easier to integrate with your friends or family to share files. So which one is better, Google Drive or Dropbox? There services seem to be almost identical, but Google has some significant advantages over Dropbox.

Google Drive Storage 20GB $5 year

The biggest news, at least to me, about the Google Drive launch in the fact that they are going to allow you to keep up to 100GB of data stored for a reasonable price of $5.99, it’s just too bad once you get above that, it’s outrageous, but that too will change. This is great on multiple levels, and something probably only Google could do with some massive data centers that companies like Dropbox, and perhaps even Microsoft, just don’t have. When you are looking at possible server farm potential for cloud storage, the biggest possibilities right now are Google, Amazon, and of course Apple who just built a massive cloud server farm in North Carolina, which is even visible from space now. All of this is good for those who want all files stored in the cloud instead of on local home hard drives that fail.

Advantages and Disadvantages in Google Drive vs Dropbox

  • More storage – 5GB of Storage on Google compared to 2GB on Dropbox (you can gain more on Dropbox)
  • Blanket Existing Coverage  – most of us already use Google for just about everything from email to Internet searches
  • Google Recognition – sometimes this is negative, but in this case, everyone has heard of Google, tech-nerds know Dropbox
  • Integration and Development in OS – both have ability to run within MAC OS-X or Windows but Google has greater development potential. The biggest plus here is with Google Docs and other Google products.
  • Automatic Syncing – both have this as well, that’s the point of cloud storage
  • Works with iOS and Android – both have this too (Google Drive says coming soon on iOS), but the Dropbox versions could use some better features, hopefully Google will do this
  • Backup – this is a big question for me, what happens with my account and my files if the company goes Chapter 11. Google has less chance to do this.
  • Potential Increases in Storage – Google is known for increasing storage size constantly, and to me, the more storage the better
  • Integration with Google Apps – Not sure how soon this is on their radar, but at work we use a Google App account
  • No URL Links – Dropbox just released this feature this week, a feature that lets you have a unique URL for each file. I see no mention about this in the Google Drive information but it has to be in the works, they couldn’t have just overlooked this feature. For now, I only see this available on Dropbox.

For now we all have to wait until Google actually rolls it out instead of just giving us the information, and of course, they developed the Android OS before the iOS, so us Apple iPhone and iPad users will have to wait even longer. Still, it’s a step in the right cloud storage direction!

Best Cloud Apps to Keep Your Life Organized in a Digital World

Just like the screen shot above says, I just love this snapshot. I was looking for a good example of a cluttered and unorganized desktop but knowing who’s screenshot this is I actually know, unlike how it seems to the eye, this is a very organized desktop. This is usually not the case though, she is the exception to the rule. I have never quite understood why some of the most organized individuals in real life are the most digitally unorganized on the planet? There is obviously a digital gap or digital divide between the two, and actually having an organized life has no correlation what-so-ever with being organized in the digital world.

I know several people who would never even leave a single tiny scrap of paper on the floor or anything out of place in their house, yet their computer desktop is strewn with random files all over the place, and if you were to venture inside the main halls of the computer, you’ve got boxes thrown here and there, furniture in the wrong places, and pieces of data everywhere… and they never ever clean house. It just keeps piling up and piling up like digitized version of Hoarders on A&E TV. Being digitally organized really is a beautiful thing to a techie geek, but it actually does serve some function and purpose as well, just like keeping your house clean serves a purpose. I realize some people just don’t care and don’t have the time to mess with it, but just because you can close the lid to your laptop and not have to look at it like a bunch of papers on your living room floor doesn’t mean it’s beneficial?

When those two organizational sides of life come together it’s pretty cool to see, but for those of us who need a little help from the digital side of organization practices, here are two of the very best apps that might help keep both sides organized and looking nice. There are some alternatives to these below, like pen and paper or other digital note-taking apps, but in terms of keeping it simple and very organized, these two are the best.

The best part about both of these apps is they function in the cloud. Things that don’t function in the cloud today are more than just slightly annoying, they are becoming obsolete (great current example would be the difference between Apple’s iBooks and Amazon’s Kindle App), especially when you need to access the information somewhere other than a computer locked to an actual desk. I know for those techies that read my blog these two apps are old news but there are still some people I run into each day that don’t know the value of these two apps. There are many more, if you have a favorite just let us know in the comments.

Evernote :: Remember Everything

Evernote is the very best note-keeping, paper-storage, sticky note, program out there. I have tried to not like Evernote but it has almost no rival in functionality, price, and features. Evernote will allow you to capture just about anything on the Internet you want and store it away in a folder (or notebook) to be accessed late via website app, desktop app, iPhone, iPad, just about any mobile device, from just about anywhere. It’s main use for me has been for scanning papers into pdf then uploading them to a notebook called receipts or something of the sort. They have a great free desktop version, perfect for just drag and dropping files, and you can share notebooks with coworkers or friends. There is a paid version but it’s cheap and offers a higher sync volume per month. Well worth the money if you use Evernote a lot.

DropBox :: Simple Online Cloud File Management

For extremely simple file management away from your desktop Dropbox is the only cloud based file solution that works seamlessly with your existing file management system. They also have a free and paid version and the paid is also well worth the money if you use more than their allotted free 2GB of space. Dropbox works just like another file folder on your computer but resides in the cloud, allowing you to access the files from anywhere, anytime. The only drawback I have found to Dropbox is it’s limited storage (2GB use to be a lot of data storage but today is almost nothing). Because they allow you to share folders with other people this 2GB’s of space can be used up almost immediately unless your shared folder peeps police their files well. Dropbox is the perfect solution for moving large files to other people without really getting into the world of Bit Torrents.

What’s your favorite organization app?