Pricing Comparisons

I should say upfront that we are not comparing Google Drive directly to other competitors as a whole on this page. I want to give them a fair shake by using them for more than a day to fairly compare them with the other cloud storage services that I’ve been using for months (or years in the case of SkyDrive and Dropbox). I also have not had a chance to check out all of the features of Drive including the mobile apps and versioning of files.

Rather, this page is comparing all the big cloud storage services with Google Drive on a simple price/GB measurement. Want to know which service will give you the most storage for your dollar without taking into account extraneous features? This chart is for you!

  Box.net Dropbox Google Drive InSync SkyDrive SpiderOak Ubuntu One
25GB $9.99 none $2.49 (30GB) $2.49 $0.83 (27GB) none $2.99 (22GB)
50GB $19.99 $9.99 (52GB) none none $2.08 (57GB) none $5.98 (42GB)
100GB none $19.99 (102GB) $4.99 (105GB) $4.99 $4.16 (107GB) $10 (105GB)  $14.95 (102GB)
cst/GB 0.3998 0.1921 0.0475 0.0499 0.0388 0.1 0.1359-0.1465
$/GB $0.4 $0.19 $0.05 $0.05 $0.04 $0.1 $0.14-$0.15

$/GB rounded to nearest cent value. Prices listed are $/per month (monthly) and (monthly=yearly / 12) when a service only billed at a yearly rate. 

As you can see from the chart, the services do not match up completely. One reason is that the different levels of free storage added to paid tiers mucks up the total results, and that some of the cloud storage services do not have specific tiers. Rather, they allow users to upgrade in certain increments. In the case of Ubuntu One, users can upgrade in 20GB storage increments and get 2GB of free storage. Also, SpiderOak gives 5GB of free storage and allows upgrading in 100GB increments. Another issue is that Google Drive’s 25GB tier is about twice as expensive per gigabyte than the rest of the storage tiers the company offers. At the 25GB tier, Google Drive costs approximately .08 cents per GB while the other tiers are approximately .05 cents per GB. Because we pulled the cost/GB from the 100GB tier for the chart (except for Dropbox which was pulled from the 50GB tier since it does not offer a 100GB tier), Google Drive has .0475 and $0.05/GB numbers. Because all but the first tier comes close to that number, we decided to use it.  Keep in mind that the 25GB tier is more expensive/GB, however.

This does muddy up the paid tier comparisons a bit but it does give you a rough estimate of where each of the services stands versus the others, and the price/GB numbers will be the most useful in comparing across services. It should be noted that InSync and Google Drive are pulling from the same storage tiers now, so they have the same prices and $/GB values. Microsoft’s SkyDrive is leading the pack with the cheapest storage (and the most free storage–especially if you were an early adopter that managed to keep all 25GB of free storage) at a bit under four cents per gigabyte. They will further provide up to 100GB paid storage for $50 a year. Google Drive is the second cheapest of the above listed options, with storage that is priced at about five cents per gigabyte. SpiderOak at ten cents per gigabyte, Ubuntu One at approximately fifteen cents per gigabyte, and Dropbox at nineteen cents per gigabyte make up the middle ground with storage that was competitively priced just a few weeks ago–but that has been significantly undercut by Microsoft and Google who are looking to expand and grab market share with their updated and new online storage services respectively. Box.net is the most expensive at forty cents per gigabyte, but it is worth noting that the service is primarily geared towards business users and is priced accordingly.

So where does Google Drive stand?

Google’s cloud storage manages to enter the market with a useful service and the most storage tiers available of any of the services. Best of all, those storage tiers are rather competitively priced by being much cheaper per GB than the current synced storage giant–Dropbox– yet not entering a price war with Microsoft for cheapest storage (likely a smart business move, if a bit disappointing from a consumer point of view). If anyone can leverage their user base into a new cloud storage service for competitive prices, it’s going to be Google and their massive data centers! It will be very interesting to see how the new Google Drive service adapts to the market and how it will look (and cost!) in a few months–whether they are able to take over a significant share of the market and charge their own prices or if they will be forced to compete even more heavily on price to bring in users.

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