Dropbox vs. Google Drive: Which One is Better for Teachers?

Dropbox vs Google Drive

There are many cloud storage services to use. I use all three major providers: Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. Most of the time though, I only use Dropbox and Google Drive, as between these two services, they do everything I need to do.

Both Dropbox and Google Drive has strengths and weaknesses. For instructional purposes, I think Google Drive wins. I list my reasons below.

Storage Space

From the get-go, Google wins. Anyone can get 15 GB of free space, including storage for Gmail. Dropbox offers 2GB to start, and you are able to increase the amount by referring new users. I did this and now am up to 20 GB, but it was a pain. Google beats Dropbox for additional storage space as well. For a Dropbox Pro Plan subscription, Dropbox charges $9.99/month and you get 100 GB. Google gives you 100 GB at $1.99. For $9.99, you get a whopping 1 TB.

Winner: Google

Ease of Use

Both services are easy to use. I will focus on the desktop clients and the web interface. Dropbox is the easiest service to use. From within the desktop (Windows or Mac), it’s easy to share files and send the links to fellow teachers, and it’s much easier to publicly share your files without the fuss of authorizing who can download what.  The Dropbox web service is usable, but it’s rather sparse.

Google Drive is almost as easy to use as Dropbox. Google Drive focuses more on collaboration, so it has more features to do that. While the features require the users to learn a bit more about collaboration techniques, once you understand them, they are powerful I can share most of my files with my students while restricting access to the files that contain answer keys and such, for example, only to the fellow instructors. The Google Drive web site is also more powerful than Dropbox’s, so unless you are looking for absolute ease of use, Google Drive offers more.

Winner: Google

Extra Features

There are other benefits that make Google Drive better for teachers. Google Drive lets you convert text from uploaded PDF and images files (OCR). The uploaded files are converted to Google Docs and you can edit them. Also Google Drive is getting integrated with other applications such at SnagIt. Again, this makes content sharing much easier, a plus for teachers.

For more information on Google Drive, Google has the Help Center that gets you started. I think it’s well worth the effort to learn all about the Drive. More tips below:

26 Google Drive Tips You Can’t Afford to Miss http://www.pcmag.me/s/323450
Google Drive: Access and Collaborate Around Your Content http://www.techsmith.com/tutorial-snagit-11-google-drive.html
16 secrets of Google Drive | Macworld http://www.macworld.com/article/2065613/16-secrets-of-google-drive.html

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