Google Drive vs Dropbox vs Microsoft SkyDrive

Google and Microsoft look to battle Dropbox, but do they succeed?

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The cloud naturally represents the future of file storage beyond physical media, but the landscape is a little bit like International waters at the moment. Anything goes and everything is up for grabs.

Google and Microsoft have recently made bold moves towards commanding the arena this week, aiming to battle some of the early dominance away from pioneers like Dropbox, which continues to improve its service and lurkers like Apple, Sony and Samsung.

Google's service comes in the form of Google Drive, finally announced after months of speculation, which offers 5GB of service for free and up to 1TB for a considerable monthly fee, along with a host of neat sharing options.

SkyDrive Mobile Apps

SkyDrive is Microsoft's solution. The name has been around for a couple of years now, but Microsoft has significantly enhanced its offering, making SkyDrive an entirely new proposition.

And of course there's Dropbox, the reigning champ, which recently updated its referral space (which worked retroactively), and has made important updates to its service ever since. But can it fend off the competition?

Let's take a look at which service offers the best option for you.

Google Drive vs Microsoft SkyDrive vs Dropbox: Storage and pricing

As we mentioned, Google is dangling the carrot by giving all Google account holders a free 5GB of Drive storage for your documents, photos and more. The company claims: "That's enough to store the high-res photos of your trip to the Mt. Everest, scanned copies of your grandparents' love letters or a career's worth of business proposals, and still have space for the novel you're working on."

Google Drive

But its also savvy enough to know, that in this age, 5GB isn't really enough. You can update to 25GB for a mere $2.49 (£1.54) a month and we'd imagine that'll be the most popular option. Power users can grab 100GB for $4.99 (£3.08) a month, while a 1TB in the cloud will cost $49.99 (£30.80).

Perhaps mindful that Google will only be offering 5GB, Microsoft has cut its free SkyDrive allowance from 25GB right down to 7GB. Existing users will be able to adjust their account settings to hold onto that free storage, but new users will get just 7GB.

Microsoft also opts for yearly price plans with 20GB for $10 (£6) a year. 50GB for $25 (£16) a year and 100GB for $50 (£32) a year.

Dropbox has the smallest initial offering at just 2GB. Fortunately for the thrifty, Dropbox referrals allot users an additional 500MBs, all the way to 16GB.

Of course, if that's not enough you can purchase additional plans - conveniently offered with month and year pricing. 50GBs will run you $9.99/month (£6) or $99.00/year, or 100GBs cost $19.99/month (£20) or $199.00/year (£123).

For the enterprise users, Dropbox has the only comprehensive option - the recently unveiled Dropbox for Teams, which start at 1TB for $795/year (£491) for five users, and an additional $125/year (£77) for each additional user.

Google has the advantage in terms of pure personal storage stage (it has also upped Gmail free storage from 7GB to 10GB), but Microsoft's existing option is cheaper and offers more free space.

Microsoft has upped its file upload maximum size from 100MB to 300MB, whereas Google makes no mention of a maximum upload size within its launch documents, so that remains to be seen.

Dropbox has a 300MB maximum upload size via the website, but it has no maximum file size through the desktop client.

Google Drive vs Microsoft SkyDrive vs Dropbox: Sharing

Google has attempted live document collaboration before with the failed Wave experiment. That feature lives on in Documents and forms a major part of Google Drive.

You can work with colleagues on a document and all changes will be synced back to Drive, while comments can be left on any files stored using the service. You can also receive notifications when changes are made to documents for which you have permissions.