Google Drive changes the economics of file sync-and-share

I almost missed the news that Google announced new pricing for storage at Google drive, moving the needle to $9.99 for 1 terabyte of storage. This is new economics, and is going to make a lot of people — and companies — reassess their file sync-and-share plans.

In my personal situation, I’ve been using Dropbox for years, for several reasons:

  • It’s easy — Dropbox runs in the background, quietly syncing files in from by Dropbox folder on my laptop with the counterpart folder in the cloud, and providing access on other devices.
  • It was cheap — I felt that paying 200 gigabytes (with versioning of files) for $24, when combined with Packrat — was good deal. Not any more, though. Now it seems expensive.
  • Packrat — Dropbox provides the wonderful feature of not deleting files from the cloud that I delete on my hard drive, although I can manually go and realio-trulio delete them.

But now I am going to switch to Google, where I can get a terabyte of storage for under $10/mo, and something equivalent to Packrat, too.

In Google Drive, I can designate certain folders that won’t sync with my laptop or other devices. I will be able to upload documents to those folders that I don’t want to delete but I don’t want on my laptop: basically an archive. Meanwhile, I will move all the folders I use on a regular basis into the Google Drive folder on my hard drive, just like I’ve been doing with Dropbox for the past few years. And I will save $15/mo. Yes, I have to do a little more manual work, but only once in a while.

This new pricing has got to be hurting Dropbox, big time.

Note that I have been using Google drive quite a bit in recent months for coworking with people on Google docs — why has Dropbox been so slow to roll out those document apps? — so now it looks like Google is going to use this pricing battle as a tipping point.

The only thing missing is a real activity stream in Google Drive folders (seeĀ Google Drive gets activity streams), and then Google would move firmly into the center of my work technology.