And when it comes to speed, there is really no comparison. Dropbox is faster, for a few reasons.
First, Dropbox uses “block-level transfer,” which is a fancy way of saying that if you make a small change to a 2GB file that Dropbox already has in the Cloud, it syncs only the change, not the entire file. Google Drive has to upload the entire 2GB file all over again.
In addition, if someone else has already uploaded the exact same file that you are uploading (for instance, the full software package for your HP printer) then Dropbox recognizes this and simply gives you access to the copy of the file it already has in the Cloud. An instant “upload.”
Finally, Dropbox uses something called “LAN Sync,” which turns the Dropbox-enabled computers on your local network into little Dropbox servers. Imagine you put a new computer online, install Dropbox, and tell it to download your company’s entire 900 GB Dropbox folder. With LAN Sync, the first thing the new system will do is check with the other computers on the same network, to see if any of them have the Dropbox data it needs. If so, it will copy the data from those computers across the local network, rather than downloading it from the Internet. Much, much faster. To throw in a shameless Royals reference, “that’s what speed do.”
There are many reasons to choose a particular Cloud storage service. If speed is your determining factor, however, then there is no question about it—Dropbox is the service for you.
Brian S. Pauls is the president of PerAspera Consulting, LLC, providing comprehensive technology solutions–from the Web, to mobile devices, to the desktop. He tries keep his head in the Cloud as much as possible.