Seven major alternatives to Google Drive
You knew it would be here. It’s safe to say that with the arrival of Google Drive, Dropbox is feeling threatened to say the least. Here is what the CEO sarcastically tweeted regarding Google’s web-storage service announcement:
In other news, @Dropbox is launching a search engine. :)
— Drew Houston (@drewhouston) April 24, 2012
I’ve used Dropbox for a year or two now, and never had a single complaint or problem with it. Setting it up is easy on any device, it’s simple to use, and sharing your files with others is a breeze. However, whilst Dropbox offers a default 2GB to free customers, Google Drive offers 5GB.
The best part of Dropbox for me is that it supports Linux systems. Since that is all I use, no other service can rival Dropbox. It’s near essential in my work now. When I take screenshots on my devices for reviews, I use the Dropbox Share option and watch it appear on my desktop a moment later. This feature alone makes the service highly convenient.
If you use Dropbox to save photos you take for viewing on your computer later, then DropSnap compliments Dropbox perfectly. It sends your precious moments up to the cloud straight from your Android phone. The idea behind the app is a bit like LightBox but with a focus on Dropbox users.
The basic operation of this app involves setting a folder to be synced, and then as soon as a new photo is added, the program alerts the user that it’s ready to sync. The application is free, however you can make a $3.99 in-app purchase to make the syncing process totally automatic.
Though geared up towards slightly more professional environments, Box works just as well as Dropbox. One of the distinctions between the two is that Box is slightly better suited towards projects. Instead of automatically syncing every change you make to a file, like Dropbox does, Box waits for you to choose to upload and “commit” the file for you or others to access later.
Box has a very attractive and fully functional Android application for you to enjoy. The computer version is browser based, and has an appearance that is similar to that of Dropbox. Personal users of the service get 5GB upon completion of free sign-up. However, if you bought a device in the Sony Xperia line within the last year, you probably were able to take advantage of the 50Gb offered by the Sony/Box partnership.
SugarSync is quite a bit more complex and feature-rich than Dropbox, and puts it to shame in that regard. While it offers the same basic service that Dropbox does, it’s easy to get lost and confused in all the options. The Android application is rather basic but gets the job done. However, it doesn’t have tablet optimization. Users are provided with 5GB of storage.
Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon is a new player in the cloud. They’ve designed their offering to be a hybrid between a storage service and what appears to be a Pandora-esque music service. You can’t stream other users’ music; you can only stream what you upload and they’ve even built in a nifty app called the Cloud Player. The service comes as part of the Amazon MP3 Android app, launched so far only in the US.
Last but not least, LG announced recently it will jump into the cloud storage game with its service, aptly named LG Cloud. This app is a bit tricky because your cost of service depends on what your usage will be. LG says it is proud of its RTS (Real-Time Streaming) which delivers almost instant streaming from the cloud. Free or paid, however, the typical 5GB of space is provided to users.
A lot of devices today come pre-loaded with web-storage features offered by the manufacturers. I remember my Transformer came with “Asus WebStorage”. HTC also has an arrangement with Dropbox which ensures each HTC customer receives an additional 25GB of storage.
On a sidenote, Samsung has acquired mSpot in order to launch their own service, S-Cloud. The flagship Samsung S3, recently unveiled to the public eye, will have an Android app to provide access to this service. Rumors are also swirling about the idea of an “S-Radio” feature being integrated into the service. Either way, it’s clearly a counter maneuver to LG’s Cloud. Details have yet to be provided on whether more than the industry-standard 5GB will be provided to free users.
Which is best for which task?
For management of your own files across several devices, whatever they may be, Dropbox is awarded the gold medal. If you’re looking to collaborate as a team, then I would recommend Box, although Dropbox claims to be designed for teams too. If you are looking for storage on a team project, try both and see which one suits you best. If you want lots of features and high levels configuration, give SugarSync a go. If you want a reliable service to store your music and videos and then stream to your Android device, Amazon Cloud Drive has the goods for you.
What’s your favorite?