It took me some time to find a use for Dropbox – and yes there are plenty, but I had already similar services setup on my own, with remote access etc. So even after I started using it, I never felt that it is safe for real professional stuff. And here are the reasons why that is and how Google Drive resolves this issues.
I like to have a server – a central storage where I can manage access and the data get’s backed up and is safe. The idea of having several computers with the same files is something that I don’t like much. What if the service goes away? What if multiple persons access the same file?
I never trusted Dropbox in that sense and the privacy issues that arouse last year just made it worse. I even tried to use it in a professional way to have a common exchange with a partner designer and it almost worked, until he removed some files I needed.
Since the Folder resides on your own computer you feel like it’s yours – you don’t really feel that you affect other computers/users with your action. If you work on a server that’s different – we have learned that a server is accessed by multiple persons – or even better we can setup the permissions in a way that user A cannot delete content from user B.
So Dropbox is best when just one person needs to access the files from different devices.
Google Drive has solutions to this problems. It’s designed from the start to be used in a multi user environment – Google Docs is an integral part (more about that later) and Google Apps account can use it as well. Single File and Folder sharing is fully integrated and you have revisions available of all the files in your Google Drive.
So if someone deletes a file or changes it you have a old copy in the archive.
Everybody loves that so many apps are integrated with Dropbox, but to be honest, writing a file to a remote server is not that exciting. At least not anymore – and I haven’t seen many apps actually open files from Dropbox. The other factor I don’t like about the Dropbox app integration is that Apps create often “random” folders where they save the files. Sure, some apps let you customize the folder where they save the files, but how about letting me decide where the file should go.
I prefer a client/project based folder structure than a mess of folders created by apps – I might not remember the app I created a file in, but I remember the client I created it for.
I expect Google Drive to be more flexible in this area. I already tested the apps that are available and most include a way to import or open files from wherever they are on the Google Drive.
The best app integration is obviously Google Docs. While I had only a complicated way to use Google Docs in a Dropbox scenario (using the sync tool provided from Google, which I didn’t care to setup), now I can easily create a doc outside of Google Docs and edit it on the go in Google Docs. I also have my Google Docs reside on my synced drive and can backup them with whatever solution I want (note: you need to enable Google Docs Offline Mode to do that).
Dropbox might not be super expensive, but it is expensive enough that I didn’t bother getting the 50 GByte version. $100 a year was too much for the amount of space and therefore I passed. The integration wasn’t there and the usefulness not worth the price. Also there wasn’t enough options to tailor it to my usage – what if I want less or more.
Google Drive is simply less expensive – with $50 a year you get 100 gigs – that’s twice as much space for half of the price. I expect Dropbox to come down with it’s prices, but still I don’t have a reason to buy the service from Dropbox.
What Dropbox shouldn’t do
Dropbox can now do just two things. Remain true to itself and keep the current feature set – keep it simple that is – and just come down with the price. The other way is that they get feature envy and add a lot of the features that Google Drive has and makes the product unusable, because it wasn’t meant to be a complicated product. I think they will go the latter unfortunately. The first signs are the folder sharing capability they introduced a couple of days ago and they will keep adding things until the whole thing just breaks.
It’s unfortunate as I think there is space for the easy well working sync service that Dropbox is and has been.
#googledrive #google #dropbox
Google+: View post on Google+