Google Plans to Crush Dropbox, Box With Cheaper Prices for You

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There is no doubt that Google (GOOG) is one of the tech world's 800-pound gorillas, and when it gets you in its sights, you better be careful or you will get crushed. Standing in its cross-hairs now are two cloud-storage companies, Dropbox and Box, which are anticipated to have a two of the hottest IPOs of 2014.

Last week Google announced that it was slashing data storage prices on its own cloud product, Google Drive, in a move that should send shivers through Dropbox and Box boardrooms and is sure to have repercussion for the sector. Of course Google has plenty of experience in dominating its smaller (and sometimes larger) competitors.

Even with a four-year head start, Alta Vista, a once-dominant search engine, and Yahoo (YHOO) could not keep pace with Google. Once its search page went live in 2004, it was only a matter of time before Google put the former out of business and relegated the latter to a second-tier search engine.

But Google's ability to crush companies hasn't just been limited to search. Google Maps effectively did away with MapQuest. Microsoft's (MSFT) Hotmail has been largely supplanted by Gmail. And even the BlackBerry (BBRY) smartphone operating system has largely been replaced by Android OS devices.

Much More Space for Free

Google's advantage is its ability to scale products quickly and efficiently, making it hard for smaller or less-well-run companies to compete. This is especially true in areas like cloud storage, where products are commoditized and difficult for the consumer to differentiate.

Google Drive now offers up to 15GB of cloud storage for free, compared to 2GB for Dropbox and 10GB for Box respectively. But Google really turns up the heat with paid storage, offering 100GB for only $1.99 per month. That same amount with Box will cost you 2.5 times as much and almost 5 times as much with Dropbox. And for those in need of mega-space, Google offers 10TB+ for $99 per month.

Of course, Google has been unable to crush a few competitors -- at least not yet. Just over a year ago, it launched Google Keep, a product designed to save, organize and sync notes and content, which was squarely aimed at the leader in that market, Evernote. Yet, Keep has faded into semi-obscurity, while Evernote has reached a $10 billion private valuation and is regularly rumored to be planning an IPO of its own.

Part of the reluctance of consumers to switch from Evernote to Keep has to do with Google's annoying habit of abandoning much-loved products with seemingly no rhyme or reason. Only time will tell if Keep is playing possum, waiting for Google to allocate intellectual and financial capital towards its success or if it will be the next Google Reader (2005-13, RIP).

However, nobody is counting Dropbox or Box out quite yet. They both have loyal user bases and can operate better in niches that Google is too big to care about. But this latest move should be a wakeup call for both companies, one they best be ready to answer.

No man is an island, or even a peninsula, so I encourage your feedback in the comments below. And don't forget to pick up my book, "Trading: The Best of the Best -- Top Trading Tips for Our Time."

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Tom Wolf

Have installed GD folder on my iMac and am satisfied with its syncing performance so far and availability on both iPhone & iPad. Though I use and like Dropbox, I'll definitely switch completely to GD if Dropbox does not respond with a competitive price. I mean, come on, I'm now paying $9.99 for 100GB a year on Dropbox which can instead get me 1000GB on GD. Even if some feel Dropbox has superior design, that cannot unto itself compensate for the disparity in storage capacity that now exists.

March 22 2014 at 2:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Google slashed price because no one is using G-Drive. People use Dropbox because of its superior design and simplicity. Feeling is everything, Dropbox gives you the feelings of using a high-quality product while G Drive doesn't. I am not going to sacrifice that feeling simply because I can save $75/year which is just one dinner in a reasonable restaurant. Come on Google, slashing price won't do a thing until you can match Dropbox's quality.

March 20 2014 at 4:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to shawn_lee31415's comment
Nicholas Pufal

I agree with most of that. I love Dropbox's quality of service, but I don't receive my salary in USD and that difference is not so little imho, specially with something that is "simply" storage.

I do like all the integrations that Dropbox offers and its simplicity, but I'm willing to pay less as it is, after all, only a bunch of bytes available for storage. I have more important things to pay in a recurring manner, and I guess more users think that way. So yes, I think it's better that they rethink their prices. Plus, GB prices are always dropping - and they do drop a lot per year - but their price is still the same for a while now, so I really doubt they don't have a good margin to reduce it.

March 21 2014 at 9:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wade Schlueter

Premium "feel", I suppose, if you're used to the layout. I originally got started on Dropbox myself because I wanted to be able to back up my mobile device automatically. No having to worry about pictures, text messages, or the like if I lose my phone, gets wet, or is stolen, done via Google Android Play app Dropsync.

There's also an Google Drive Autosync app to sync more than just the default stuff for Android.

However, I have been using Google Drive for some time as it actually has some security features that works great for projects (i.e. editing a document with multiple people on the team and being able to see those specific edits). This was a fantastic feature for Project Management work being that we were able to work on a document simultaneously and therefore potentially get more work done. Rather than send snippets to add in or document version 124243....

Only thing I found I would miss personally would be that you cannot use symlinks with Google Drive to backup folders outside of the main folder. You can do that with Dropbox as the app natively follows symlinks. Here's a freebie app for you if that piques your interest.

However, I've found a one time fee based solution for home users, $15 per Google Account.

Honestly, Google Drive really is a great product. I'm finding less and less reasons to stick with it because I can do everything I need and more with Drive, for less.

April 05 2014 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Never use or trust Google....use or for searcing privacy

March 20 2014 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply