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8/21/2012
04:54 PM
Kevin Casey
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Microsoft SkyDrive Vs. Dropbox, Google: Hands-On

How does Microsoft's improved cloud filesharing and storage service stack up against the biggest names on the market? Consider a Dropbox fan's experience.
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A confession: I kind of, sort of didn't know Microsoft's SkyDrive existed until recently, when the company's cloud storage and filesharing service began getting more attention amid the Windows 8 pre-launch buzz. It's been around in some form for a while, but I somehow missed it--even though I've always been Windows user, especially in business contexts, dating back to my first PC. Oops.

I suspect I'm not alone in my ignorance. SkyDrive hasn't had anywhere near the brand recognition of Dropbox, Apple's iCloud, and other better-known platforms. With Microsoft's recent makeover of SkyDrive, now seemed as good a time as any to try it out.

There are a few things about SkyDrive that caught my eye. Microsoft is giving away 7 GB of free space, which beats most of its competitors. That can quickly run out, but it's a fine starter package. Most of the stuff I'm going to store is relatively light: Documents, spreadsheets, and the occasional PowerPoint. Images are probably the bulkiest residents in my online storage accounts, though I tend to delete them once they've been shared or otherwise have served their purpose, backing them up locally instead. I don't typically handle much video or other large media files.

My primary use cases are filesharing, mobility, and backup. The latter is a redundancy tactic--I'd rather not trust everything to single cloud provider, but it rarely hurts to have an extra copy online if and when things go wrong in the office. My mobility needs, like a lot of other small and midsize business (SMB) users, have skyrocketed over the past couple of years. I have a main office but often work elsewhere, and not always from the same computer.

Some of my curiosity stems from the fact that I'm running Windows 7 on my primary PC, a relatively new laptop. I have no plans to upgrade to Windows 8 when it comes out, or at any point in the foreseeable future. Given that SkyDrive will be more closely integrated with the newest versions of Windows and Office, I wondered if that made it a bad fit for me. Similarly, I'm not a Windows Phone user--would mobility be hampered on Android and other non-Microsoft operating systems? I also wasn't convinced that browser interoperability was a safe assumption; it seemed plausible that Microsoft might try to steer users to Internet Explorer, and I typically use Google's Chrome.

I focused on Dropbox and Google Drive as comparison points for SkyDrive because they're the ones I currently use most often for both business and personal needs. There are, of course, plenty of alternatives out there. They include several that keep it strictly business, eschewing the consumer and crossover markets, for those paranoid about security and related issues.

I'm a regular Dropbox user for business purposes. Tons of other people use it, too, so if you ask someone share a file or vice versa via Dropbox, odds are they know what you're talking about. The 2-GB free account feels a little skimpy these days, though Dropbox offers plenty of upgrade options, including Dropbox for Teams, which may be a better fit for SMB users provisioning filesharing and storage on the company dime. (More to come on pricing.)

Google Drive, on the other hand, was sort of foisted upon me as a regular Google Docs user. I still tend to use it mostly as a function of Docs. It has already become sort of a disorganized mess, whereas I'm normally a neat freak when it comes to file management, online and off. I'm a Docs fan, and will likely continue to interact with Drive as a result--that's surely part of Google's strategy--but it has yet to convince me that I actually need it.

Is there room for SkyDrive in the mix? Could it replace something I already use? Read on for the details, but here's the bottom line: I started using SkyDrive as a healthy skeptic with modest expectations. I'm going to keep using it after this initial tryout because I was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps I'm not yet a full-fledged convert, but it has been useful and is worth a long look if you're in the market for online backup and storage--even if it's just an "extra" on top of what you've already got in place. And if you're going to jump on the coming release of Windows 8, the case for SkyDrive is probably even stronger.

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jackyneo
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jackyneo,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/3/2013 | 9:03:35 PM
DriveHQ vs. Dropbox, google drive and SkyDrive
Some editors talk as if Dropbox, Google Drive or SkyDrive is the best or the first cloud storage service provider. In reality, that's not true. Their reviews are usually only based on the storage price for consumers. However, it is important to note that many service providers have much higher prices for businesses than for consumers. For example, Dropbox, Box and Google Drive have different pricing for business services. Dropbox for Business starts at $795/user/year + $125/user/year for each additional user licenses. Google Drive charges $50-$100/user/year (incl 30GB storage space), additional storage space for business service is twice as much as for consumer services. Box charges $180/user/year for business services.

I have worked for DriveHQ since 2006.  Founded in 2003, DriveHQ is the first cloud IT solution provider with over 2 million registered users. For business service, you will find DriveHQ service a lot better and cheaper at only $6/user/year. You can find more detailed comparisons and reviews on:  http://www.drivehq.com/help/solution/ExpertReviews.aspx
brogers60601
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brogers60601,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/19/2012 | 6:25:47 PM
re: Microsoft SkyDrive Vs. Dropbox, Google: Hands-On
People who post slideshows without an ability to view the article as a single page should be horsewhipped!
TwiggyB
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TwiggyB,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/23/2012 | 9:25:03 PM
re: Microsoft SkyDrive Vs. Dropbox, Google: Hands-On
I do use SkyDrive because it's easy and there's plenty of "free" space. I did use Dropbox but not enough. However, Microsoft makes all it's software to work with all its other software so there shouldn't be any problems when you use products like SkyDrive.

I do recommend using it because if you forget your USB, you won't look foolish in front of your boss, your competitors or coworkers. It's like emailing your homework to yourself so when it's time to turn it in, you're grade, an A, is ready to slide onto the page.
TwiggyB
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TwiggyB,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/23/2012 | 9:20:46 PM
re: Microsoft SkyDrive Vs. Dropbox, Google: Hands-On
WHY did Information Week do this??? Spread this out in small paragraphs so they could put hundreds of millions of ads in between. SHAME ON YOU INFORMATION WEEK!!! I used to think you had more class than this but now that you've sunk to the level of the Economy, I'm completely turned off.

Where's the "view in one page" feature??? Did you not want people to read the entire article or was this just for the advertisers? WOW! You've sunk lower than the Economy for usre.
Leo Regulus
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Leo Regulus,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/23/2012 | 6:37:01 PM
re: Microsoft SkyDrive Vs. Dropbox, Google: Hands-On
Sorry, I can't find your 'View-as-one-page' or Blog option so that I can peruse this article as a civilized human being.
giop
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giop,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/23/2012 | 1:45:35 AM
re: Microsoft SkyDrive Vs. Dropbox, Google: Hands-On
This is very tedious reading, small bits of text and information load with page after page of promos and hype. I'm out!
lacertosus
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lacertosus,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/22/2012 | 4:23:45 PM
re: Microsoft SkyDrive Vs. Dropbox, Google: Hands-On
I'm a hard core Dropbox and Google Docs user and have been for a long while. As of few months ago, I started exploring SkyDrive and it's capabilities. Shortly after, I started falling in love with it for several reasons. Firstly, Microsoft, for free, gave me a total of 27 GB for for life and it's something I couldn't ignore. Secondly, unlike Dropbox and Google Docs, I'm able to organize all of my folders and files the way my hart desires. Their structure really attempts to prevent users from having a mess of files. Thirdly, the recent overhaul of Outlook. com and SkyDrive makes it a lot more inciting to completely convert. The new design is simple and very user friendly, it ensures productivity, and best of all their ads are not as annoying as other providers. They only show up when you hover over them. I can certainly live with that (or I may just block them all together via an extension)!

I have in recent years been avoiding any Microsoft cloud related products since they rapidly have fell behind the curve and were no longer innovating. But, Microsoft is surprisingly managing to impress me.
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