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Four Reasons Why Google Drive Will Not Kill Dropbox

Four Reasons Why Google Drive Will Not Kill Dropbox

Now that Google has entered the cloud storage market with the long-awaited Google Drive, will it kill Dropbox and other cloud computing services? This is a hot topic in Dropbox forums and elsewhere in the cloud computing world. Here is what one forum poster said, as quoted in CIO magazine:

“Google Drive is going to devastate Dropbox. I hate to say it, Google being the big, bad corporate machine and all, but Dropbox is going to [hemorrhage] users unless they dramatically lower their prices (which could even require being bought up).”

One has to say that the pricing is quite attractive (much like Microsoft Skydrive) and most target users already have Google accounts, which will make the switch pain-free.  Thus, Google apparently already has an advantage over the competition. However, I have some experience working for such big software companies, and here is what I believe:Google Driveis going to kill Dropbox, just as Knol killed Wikipedia, Wave killed instant messaging, Google+ killed Facebook and Google Offers killed Groupon. None of those threats mattered, and it is quite likely the same will be repeated here.

Here are the reasons why:

  • Just because Google has mastered search doesn’t mean it can rule everything in technology – I have just illustrated its successes in other areas in the previous paragraph. Also, as the experiences ofIBM, HP and later Microsoft have shown, it is very hard for a big corporation to compete with a startup moving with full momentum. Every organization has a certain core competence. I would argue that a company such as Dropbox has better core strength in this segment than Google.
  • For Dropbox, cloud storage is their bread and butter, and they will do everything possible to cling on to their advantage. Google, on the other hand, does not depend on this for its bottom line and might not consider it such a priority as Dropbox.
  • Google has proven to be fickle in their handling of many services that are not core to their interests. Last year they put an end to ten of their services in one fell swoop, including Buzz, which was barely a few months old. What is the guarantee that they will not close Google Drive within a year? As an enterprise user, you just have to pray that Larry doesn’t change his mind, as he did with other services. Sure, Dropbox could also go kaput, but I would put the odds of Google closing G-Drive higher than Dropbox going belly up, based on the last 3–4 years of observing both the enterprises. This uncertainty could prevent many users from migrating.
  • Concerns about too much data being stored in Google. When Google arrived, many tech users were relieved that they no longer had to live in the hegemony of Microsoft. So, they readily bought the “don’t be evil” part and used anything “Google”. However, its reputation since then has taken a beating, and a few high-volume, professional users have concerns about storing too much data with one company. This segment could be big enough to sustain Dropbox for some time to come, even if mainstream users defect.

So, don’t bet on the death of Dropbox just yet.

By Balaji Viswanathan

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