Google Drive is a popular addition to a wave of what is known as "cloud storage" applications. It's free to start, with an initial memory limit of 15 gigabytes (which is quite generous). You can safely store your computer files on Google Drive and move them back to your computer at will. Plus, you can create and edit office documents right on Google Drive... and even edit them alongside co-workers in real time! Google Drive's two main drawbacks are that it doesn't have infinite space to store your files (but then again, most services like it don't), and it doesn't have very precise security and privacy settings.
Google Drive alternatives from Google's main competitors include Apple iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive. Other services like Google Drive can offer you more simplicity, such as Dropbox.com or Box.com. Or, there are others with a greater focus on greater security and functionality, such as SpiderOak.com or SugarSync.com.
Here's the lowdown on eight handy websites like Google Drive.
Dropbox is far and away the most popular Google Drive alternative; in fact, it's an indispensible tool for us here at Techboomers. It allows you to quickly and seamlessly synchronize your files between your different devices, as well as share them with friends and family, with no file size restrictions. However, its initial storage space limit is rather small (at only 2 gigabytes), and you can't work on a file at the same time as someone else.
If you'd like, you can get an in-depth look at how Dropbox works in our Dropbox course.
An award-winning alternative to Google Drive, Box is designed to make storing and sharing your files as simple as the company's name. It offers 10 gigabytes of free storage, and it works relatively well with other Microsoft and Google services. Unfortunately, the size of files that you can upload is limited, and you need an upgraded account to keep track of things like file versions and permissions.
SpiderOak became one of the most famous alternatives to Google Drive after the United States National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden mentioned it as an alternative to Dropbox. Its claim to fame is its "100% Zero-Knowledge Guarantee", which means that you and the people you share your files with are the only ones who have control over access to them on SpiderOak. SpiderOak not only doesn't know what's in the files that you store on the service, but also has no idea how to unlock them because you're always holding the keys. However, SpiderOak is a bit complicated to use, especially if you're trying to share files (because you control how they're encrypted).
This Apple-made competitor to Google Drive works especially well with computers and mobile devices running Apple's iOS operating system. You can backup and restore settings and data on your Apple devices, send and receive emails, manage your Internet passwords, or even find your iOS-powered mobile device if you lose it! Oh, and you can store and transfer files between Apple computers, too. You only get 5 gigabytes of free memory space with which to do this, though.
SugarSync's claim to fame among sites like Google Drive is its ability to back up any folder on your computer, not just one specifically dedicated to SugarSync. It also has similar sharing features to Dropbox, plus the ability to remotely wipe data from any of your synced devices if it's lost or stolen. The downside of SugarSync is that it has no free options, though you can get a free trial of it for a month.
OneDrive is computer giant Microsoft's foray into the world of Google Drive competitors. It offers 5 gigabytes of free memory storage space, and includes a "recycle bin" function that lets you temporarily store files without taking up your storage quota (though they'll ultimately be deleted). You can also download multiple files at once in a "ZIP" folder (though there is a limit of 4 gigabytes or 65,000 files on this action). You can also use OneDrive to create and edit Microsoft Office documents right in your web browser!
Like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, Minbox allows you to create and collaborate on office documents in real-time with friends or co-workers. However, Minbox is unique in that it's almost a "meta" cloud storage service. What we mean by that is it can store and synchronize files from all sorts of different cloud storage services -- including Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Box, and Dropbox -- all under one roof. This makes it a great productivity tool for businesses whose employees may be used to using different services.
Rounding out our list is Tresorit, which is similar to SpiderOak in how seriously it takes the privacy and security of your computer files. Tresorit has many of the same file sharing and synchronization functions as Google Drive. However, you can encrypt your files before you send them into Tresorit, so that nobody can see what's in them. In fact, many people have tried in annual contests put on by Tresorit, and so far, nobody has been successful! As a security feature, though, you can only access your files on Tresorit from the application on your device, not from Tresorit's website. Tresorit's free features are also somewhat limited, and its paid upgrades are somewhat expensive.
Have you used any of these cloud storage applications like Google Drive before? Did you feel well in control of your computer files when using them, or did they just drive you crazy? Are there any other services similar to Google Drive that you would recommend to our users? Please let us know by leaving a comment below, or dropping us a line on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks!
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