Google Drive launched yesterday and the world is already starting to fall in love with the new service. More than five million users have downloaded the Google Drive app for Android in a single day and the Fudzilla team was no exception.
We use Dropbox on a regular basis, to share raw review photos, documents and other stuff, but mostly photos, since our Vienna team is to Photoshop what Larry Flynt is to walking. [Or maybe they are just lazy beeeeeeps. Ed] Needless to say we have come to appreciate this simple, time saving cloud service and now Google comes along and offers an alternative.
So is it worth the trouble?
In our opinion, yes. Our first impressions are rather positive, but there is nothing spectacular to report. Google Drive does offer some extra functionality compared to Dropbox, or other cloud services for that matter, but we reckon most users will not use the extra features that much. Google Drive is pretty much an evolution of Google Docs and it shares the same little foibles. Personally, I've never been much of a Google Docs fan and I find the UI quite unwieldy. Google drive has a similar interface and Google Docs users will feel at home.
In terms of functionality and user friendliness, Google Drive and Dropbox are pretty close. Google Drive offers an advanced search engine and Docs functionality, but sharing folders and content is a bit simpler on Dropbox. Of course, Dropbox is also ahead in terms of cross-platform compatibility, but Google will launch an iOS app in a few weeks, so this is only a temporary drawback.
The Google Drive desktop client is good, we don't have any major complaints and it is practically on par with Dropbox. Sadly, the Android app leaves much to be desired. Our guys reported a few performance issues and some basic functionality is lacking as well i.e. creating folders. Dropbox still enjoys a clear lead in the mobile department. Dropbox Android and iOS apps just feel a bit more polished and they offer more syncing functionality, like the annoying but useful camera sync option. Long story short, Google Drive is great, but the Android app is not. Of course, Google will put in a bit more work in the app sooner or later, but we must say that we are disappointed. Google Drive was long overdue and we expected a much better user experience from day one.
However, every cloud has a silver lining and in Google's case it is pricing. Google offers 5GB of free stoarge, easily beating Dropbox. Furthermore users can buy up to 16TB of storage and the prices are pretty good: 25GB for $2.50 per month, 100GB for $5 per month, 1TB for $50. Google will also sweeten the deal by throwing in 25GB of Gmail storage with any account. Dropbox charges $20 for 100GB and $10 for 50GB, with up to 32GB in referral bonuses. We are talking about tiny sums of money, but the staggering difference ads up. 100GB on Google will cost you $60 a year, while Dropbox will charge you $240, or $180 more.
So what's our verdict? Google Drive has what it takes to take on Dropbox, Box, Skydrive and other cloud services. Apple's iCloud and Amazon Cloud are really not competing services in the strictest sense and Google Drive could complement them both. However, Google needs to update the mobile app as soon as possible. It is just not doing the service justice and needs to be fixed, yesterday.
Also Google, please give the guy or gal who came up with this gorgeous glass thing of beauty a nice office and a bonus – preferably taken out of the pay of whoever designed this recycling-inspired attempt at a logo below.