Cloud Storage War
Imagine waging a war on multiple battle fronts. At one end there’s Apple iCloud on the other end there’s Dropbox. Not far away, Microsoft SkyDrive, Box, Amazon Cloud Drive and SugarSync are on skirmish like battle royale. Year after year, rumor has it that Google will finally unveil its own arsenal of cloud service but for many years, it seemed like a vaporware. Then finally, Google Drive came at the center of the battlefield. Is there any chance Google Drive can win this on-going cloud storage war?
Google Drive Advantage
The free storage is 5 GB and the upgrade fee is priced very aggressively. It only cost $30 to get 25Gb more. In addition, when you upgrade you are not only getting storage for files and pictures (through Picasa) but you also get free Gmail storage.
In Dropbox, the smallest upgrade that you can buy is 50Gb and you will pay $.9.99 per month. Box is even more expensive because 25Gb upgrade will cost the same amount but their target market is different. They aim for business.
Skydrive, however, is the cheapest which cost only $10 per year but it only integrates with Office Web Apps and synchronizes with the desktop version of Office suites.
Apple iCloud offers 20Gb for $40 a year so you can say Google is somewhere in the middle of Apple and Microsoft in terms of pricing.
Clearly enough, Google Drive is aimed to be Google’s answer to Apple iCloud and Microsoft SkyDrive but iCloud has a different focus so naturally it will have poor support for Windows and other operating system. We will not see iCloud on Android as well.
Google Drive, on the other hand, is already working on the iOS app to put Google Drive on Apple devices but I will not be disappointed if they change their mind. At this moment there is no word whether Google Drive will be ported to Windows Phone as well.
Not surprising, SkyDrive is not available on Android but it supports iOS devices. I think you know why.
Of all these services compared, only Sugarsync can sync any local file or folder on Mac and PC for free. You have to pay extra for Box to get this feature and this feature is not possible in other services. Unfortunately Sugarsync is not available in Linux.
In terms of integration, Google Drive is not as deep as Dropbox yet but I think Google will reiterate and improve its software for Windows, Mac and Linux. This is the reason Dropbox is still the most popular cloud storage service out there, and still the easiest to use. No other cloud storage service offers tighter integration on desktops operating systems but Dropbox. But who knows? The situation might change sooner than later.
Cloud Storage Comparison Chart
Here is the comparison chart that I got from PCWorld comparing the basic features of popular cloud storage services. Take note that Apple iCloud and Amazon Cloud Drive is not shown in the table.
I think Google’s direct competitor here is mainly Dropbox and SkyDrive. Apple iCloud is quite different and focus only on iOS devices. I didn’t compare Amazon Cloud Drive because it has a different market target.
Overall I think Google Drive has potential specially for those people who actively use Google services. Having Google Drive is a great addition to your web workflow but there are topics about Google terms of service that you may like look at in detail.