There’s no getting away from Google Drive. Along with Dropbox, it’s changed the way we work by making cloud-based storage for businesses the norm.
It’s great for file management, storage and collaboration. It syncs with other Google Workspace apps like Google Docs which is pretty handy.
Now here’s the thing. We often find ourselves using Drive for tasks it was never intended for. That can lead to a lot of frustration and wasted time.
When a tool is such a feature of your working day, it’s hard to imagine there’s better-suited alternatives out there. But believe me, they exist! This article is full of affordable alternatives so you won’t have to compromise any longer.
Why switch from Google Drive?
Good question. Depending on what you want to use it for, Google Drive can have some serious limitations. Let's investigate:
Drive isn’t a silver bullet
Drive isn’t your answer to all things. It’s good for storing documents in the cloud, sure. But it’s not always best suited to other tasks we find ourselves using it for. There are better ways to view, store, and share your brand’s images and video, for instance. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Doesn’t feel like yours
We spend so much time in Drive that we’ve gotten used to living and working within the Google brand. It’s a real shame there aren’t many options to make it feel personalised. Wouldn't it be nice to house your brand's content in a place that looks and feels like your company?
There are concerns about privacy
Google is often in the news about the eyebrow-raising ways it stores and monetises user data. This year, three U.S. states filed privacy-related lawsuits against the tech giant, as Bloomberg reports.
In the context of Google Workspace, this could also raise concern. Drive updated their policy in December 2021 to allow them to block you sharing your files if they’re deemed to breach their policies. As cloud collaboration tool Tresorit puts it:
“The move highlights how deeply Google scans the files uploaded to Google Drive, which raises several privacy concerns.”
Price by user can rack up
Drive is part of Google Workspace. That means businesses need to buy access to the whole suite of applications to access Drive. How much you spend on Workspace a month depends on the features you want and how many users need access to it.
Here’s what you get in their standard business plan:
- Access to all Google apps - like Calendar and Google Docs
- 2TB of cloud storage space per user
- Controls to manage your security
- Your own custom business email
It’s priced at £9.20 (or $11) per user per month. So let’s say you’re working in a small business with 40 employees. That’ll set you back £400 (or $482) a month.
That’s fine if Google Drive’s doing all you need it to. But if you’re reading this article, it’s likely you’re not happy with it. If you’re going to spend that much money, it’s time you consider alternatives better suited to what you’re trying to do.
Keep reading for our top Google Drive alternatives in 2022.
Top Google Drive alternatives for 2022
Let’s get to it. Considering these competitor products doesn’t mean ditching Drive for good. Just that there may be other tools better suited for the work you’re doing.
NB: Pricing accurate of 9th August, 2022.
1. Dash - for managing your brand's visual content
Marketers and designers create and use tons of visual content for the work they need to do. I’m talking product shots, graphics, videos - all sorts. And Drive isn’t great when you’re trying to store and find thousands of your brand’s creative assets. This is why you need a digital asset management tool, like Dash.
Visual content needs a visual tool
Here’s how all your beautiful graphics look on Google Drive.
They’re tiny thumbnails which make it hard to scroll through and find what you need.
And now here’s what the same images look like on Dash.
Like a breath of fresh air, right? Dash is more visual so it’s better suited to storing all your brand assets.
See that logo in the left hand corner? You don’t have to put up with Google plastering their own brand over your workspace. Customise Dash to suit your company and create an on-brand online experience.
Search by the content of your content
That’s not the only way Dash makes your visual content far easier to find. In fact, we haven’t even scratched the surface. Where Drive lacks basic custom field and tagging options, Dash is the total opposite.
Here’s what I mean. This is what an image looks like on Drive.
The only way you can find this image again is by remembering the file name or favouriting it. When you’re dealing with hundreds, if not thousands, of assets, that’s not an option.
Let’s switch it up and see what the same image looks like in Dash.
Take a look at all that glorious information on the right-hand side. That’s a mix of automatic tags and custom fields we’ve set up for Planto, our fictional houseplant company.
What’s the point in those? They increase how easy it is to find an asset by making each field and tag something you’re able to search for. In this instance, somebody could search for content by:
- Product name
- Care level
- Product image type
- Usage rights
- Product category
- Date created
Other ideas for custom fields to try are campaign, influencer, photographer or asset performance. The world is your oyster when using custom fields. Just think how your colleagues might want to search for content and then add a field for it. No more remembering file names like ‘IMG_8820-v2.jpg’ to find what you’re looking for!
Search by the content of your content
It takes a village to make a business run. There’s lots of people who need access to your visual content to do their jobs. That could be people like your colleagues in the design team. Or people outside your business, like your resellers or your press contacts. And that’ll only increase as your company grows.
Google Drive is primarily for document management, so it doesn’t have much flexibility when sharing visual assets.
You can send individual assets to people by granting them access to your Drive. Or collect all the assets by duplicating them inside another folder, then granting access to that instead.
Different partners - like resellers and paid ad agencies - need different types of content and permissions. So it can get messy pretty quickly.
Dash gives you way more file sharing and collaboration features. Let’s go through a few of them:
- Share by URL or email - Pick an asset, or choose multiple files, then decide how you want to share it and when you'd like the link to expire. Simple.
- Collections - Use collections to group assets together which would sit across folders. They don’t have an expiry date, so they’re a good option if the person you’re sharing the assets with needs them for longer than 30 days.
- Set up a public portal - This one’s great for giving external stakeholders access to a lot of your content. Set up a public, password-protected portal and select the folders in Dash you want to appear there. They can still search for files in the portal, so you’ll be saving them a lot of time.
Dash is perfect for managing your visual content. It’s not designed to totally replace your Drive, but work alongside it. You can even connect Dash and Google Workspace together.
So if you’re after a system which allows you to collaborate on work-in-progress business documents, sticking with Drive or switching to Dropbox would be a better fit.
If you’re interested in how we’re working to improve Dash, you can take a look at our product roadmap and customer-voted feature requests.
Dash is meant for growing brands and smaller businesses, so our pricing won’t break the bank. Our monthly plans start from £79 / $109 for every feature and unlimited users.
2. Dropbox - for document management
Dropbox? In an article about Google Drive alternatives? Groundbreaking.
But it’s a cliche for a reason. Dropbox and Google Drive have long led the pack as cloud services for businesses. There's a reason for that - they're both excellent products. They’ve got similar features but with a few key differences.
Familiar folder structure
Google Drive places emphasis on using the search bar to find your files. That can be useful as it prompts users to think outside of traditional folder structures. But training yourself out of relying on folders to find files can be a struggle for some people.
If that’s the case for you, then you’ll prefer Dropbox’s interface, which looks much more like your computer desktop. If you’re used to finding files by going through a series of nested folders, this won’t be as steep a learning curve.
Speedier file synchronisation
Dropbox and Drive approach updating and syncing files differently. If you make any changes to a document in your Google Workspace, Drive will re-sync the entire document - even if you’ve made the tiniest of edits.
Instead, Dropbox has a concept of incremental backup. This means if you edit a paragraph, Dropbox only syncs that paragraph rather than the entire document. While the speed difference between the two won’t usually be noticeable, it’s a consideration if you have dodgy internet bandwidths.
More freedom when working on non-Google files
Drive is part of Google Workspace alongside other applications like Docs and Sheets. So it’s hardly surprising that it offers less functionality for documents made by non-Google applications.
Version history is a good example of this. It’s super easy to view version history for Slides, Sheets and Docs. Files from other providers, however? Not so much. If that’s important to you, then Dropbox has your back. You’re able to see change history for all files, regardless of what application it originated from.
The key thing that’ll swing whether you’re for Drive or Dropbox is the context it sits within. Being part of Google Workspace, the integration between Drive and other Google applications (like Docs, Sheets and Slides) is seamless. For obvious reasons, there’s no way Dropbox will be able to compete with that. If you’re already using other Google Workspace apps, sticking with Drive makes sense.
Another drawback is Dropbox’s pricing being more expensive than Google Workspace’s. See below for more detail.
The pricing plans for Dropbox are more costly than Google Workspace. They start at £16.58 / $20.11 a month per user for their basic business plan, which is £7 / $8.50 per user more expensive than Drive. And that’s without access to a work suite of applications like Docs and Slides.
It does include access to Dropbox Paper, which you can use to manage projects and collaborate with colleagues. There isn’t really a counterpart on Google’s side, so this might swing it in Dropbox’s favour if you’re so inclined.
3. Notion - for project management
Notion has a tonne of useful features which call for an entire article all to themselves. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on one - project management. Drive doesn’t support collaborative project management, but a lot of us still use it to store documents related to projects.
If that's the same for you, then consider Notion. It makes it easier to collaborate and work on projects.
If Trello and Drive had a baby, it’d look something like Notion. You can create a library of project-related files in Notion, then add it to your project tracker. Like Trello, you can assign colleagues and move items to columns depending on status.
They also have a tonne of templates for you to pick from, made by Notion themselves or members of the community. These take a bit of configuration and getting used to. But, having said that, it would be possible to use Notion to replace other applications in the Google Workspace, like Google Docs.
Notion’s freedom and flexibility is a double-edged sword. It provides an open sandbox for you to set your Notion up in a way that best suits your brand. But this in itself can feel overwhelming and makes it difficult to get started. The templates are a great place to start, but will need some getting used to.
Starting at £6.60 / $8 a user, Notion is one of the most affordable tools in this list. You can upgrade to their Enterprise plan for more advanced features, but you’ll have to get in touch with them for a quote.
4. Corebook - for brand style guides
Your company’s brand deserves better than to languish locked inside a PDF hidden on your Drive. And what happens if you need to tweak the brand colours or add extra fonts? What should be an easy fix turns into paying the designer you used to dig out the files of the original style guide, edit and send back to you. All so you can reupload back on to your Drive, where no-one can find it.
If that chimes true, you might want to try Corebook.
PDF brand style guides look increasingly old-fashioned. If you’re using Drive to store yours, then spare a minute for your designer. They have to read your PDF guide, see that they can only use your logo in specific colours, then go hunting for that logo variation across your Drive.
Corebook knits your brand guidelines and assets together in one beautiful, mini website. Display logos, colours, fonts and more - all within a living, easily-editable online site. Dash integrates with Corebook, so you can pick the assets stored in Dash to feature in your style guide.
If you’re looking for a tool to replace all of the functionality and file storage you get using Google Drive, then obviously Corebook’s not going to do that. Corebook has a specific use case and isn’t as generic as Drive. It’s best for brand managers and designers fed-up with using Drive to share style guides with the rest of the world. Think of it as an extra tool to use alongside Drive (or whichever file storage provider you pick).
Their standard pricing plan starts at £73 / $99 for 20 editors. If you’re interested in extra features, you can get in touch with Corebook for a custom quote.
5. Slab - for company wikis
From HR policies to best practice guides on internal software, companies create stacks of information all the time. For any employee, trying to find that when it’s all housed in a poorly-organised company wiki tool can feel super frustrating.
Linking families of related documents together into a company wiki that feels smooth is one thing Drive struggles with. Luckily there are lots of alternative tools out there to consider - like Slab.
One of Slab’s standouts are how it treats Topics. These are, in their words 'infinitely nestable’, so you can organise all your documents in ways that make sense to your business. You might want to create a ‘Company’ topic, and then have policies and documents grouped in sub-topics under that like ‘Office management’ and ‘Company culture’.
The tool isn’t aiming to replace your entire tech stack either. So Slab instead makes clever use of its integrations too. You can connect Drive, Dropbox, Slack, Notion and a host of other tools to your Slab, then search the content housed on every integration all within Slab.
Like Dash and Corebook, Slab isn’t designed to replace your everyday file storage system like Dropbox or Drive. It has a specific use-case of building a knowledge centre for your company, helping employees find what they need quickly, and helping onboard new hires faster.
While the features are limited, you can get started for free on Slab with up to 10 users. Paid plans start at £5.50 / $6.67 per users.
So where does that leave you?
The alternatives we’ve listed can be broken into two categories. Those that are direct competitors to Google Drive, in that they can more or less replace everything Drive does. There are:
And then there are alternatives for when we’re using Drive for work it’s not really designed to do:
So the next time you use your Drive for something other than file storage, think - is there a tool better suited for what you'd like to do?
Feel free to get in touch if you think there's any other products out there I might have missed!
And if we’ve peaked your interest about Dash, you can try it out yourself for free. Just fill in the form below.