Google Drive Competitors Upgrade Their Offerings

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-04-29 Print this article Print

After six years of development, Google Drive hits the market; in response, other services have stepped up and sweetened their offers.

The launch of Google's new cloud storage and collaboration service has convinced several competing companies to upgrade their own services€”and not simply with more capacity at the same or lower price.

On April 24, after more than six years of talking about it, Google released its Google Drive cloud storage service, which gives users 5GB of free file storage. If they choose, users then can upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month and 1TB for $49.99/month.

In response, other services have stepped up and sweetened their offers.

Dropbox Gets More Competitive

Dropbox revealed a couple of new features. One is an expanded automated photo/video upload service that includes most cameras, PCs, tablets, connected SD cards and smartphones. After images are uploaded, users can view them on the Web from Dropbox's new Photo Page.

Be aware: By signing onto the service, Dropbox automatically expands a user's storage capacity by 500MB for the first upload. Once that 500MB is filled up with the camera Upload function, another 500MB will be added; this process keeps repeating up to a total of 3GB.

Dropbox's second feature, announced April 23, is that a simple link now can be sent to non-Dropbox users to share a file or folder. With one click they can preview the file in a browser, whether document, photo or video, without having to sign up for Dropbox. They won't be able to edit or change it in any way while it is in that queue, however.

Business presentations, home movies€”even entire folders€”can be opened and viewed immediately without having to sign in, download anything or open files separately. Nonetheless, the receiver of the link does get the option to save that photo, video or PDF or other document for later by either downloading it or saving it to their own cloud storage account.

This is one of Dropbox's strengths: creating simple tools for syncing and sharing files across various devices. Its local folder syncing is available for PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones, and Android and BlackBerry devices. Dropbox offers 2GB free, and then 50GB of storage for $99 a year.

Microsoft SkyDrive Value-Adds

Also in an effort to cut Google off at the pass, Microsoft updated its SkyDrive cloud service, which is connected with Windows Explorer. It features similar drag-and-drop transfer of files to the service, and photos from any Windows Phone smartphone automatically shows up there.

SkyDrive gives users remote access to a central PC, wherever it might be located. It also allows users to stream video from it, something that Google Drive and Dropbox€”or most other services€”do not offer at this time.

The SkyDrive service is available as an iPhone, iPad app and Windows Phone (obviously) application. The price and free capacity outmaneuver that of Google Drive; the first 7GB are free, and 50GB of storage costs only for $25/year.

Chris Preimesberger also writes the Storage Station blog for eWEEK.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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