Google Drive API vs Dropbox API

 In CloudRail

API Comparisons, Dropbox vs Google Drive

~~Click here to learn how to integrate Dropbox and Google Drive via the same API.~~

When you want to back up your files into CloudStorage; wherever for storing your applications files up in the cloud or for allowing a user to backup their own files, then you might be thinking between using either Google Drive or Dropbox for this.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using one over the other. Of course, with CloudRail, it is also simple to program an application that makes usage of both Cloud Storage provides. For example, you could use this to work around the free storage allocations of both services.

Storage Quotas, free and paid.

If you are expecting your customers to sign up for one of the services, one thing that might be attractive is how much free space, and what the expansion capabilities are. After all, users are probably more likely to sign up for something if they feel that they are getting a massive deal for the investment of their time.

Google Drive offers it’s users 15GB of free space. However, one key feature is that things created in Google’s Office Platform programs (Sheets, Docs, etc) do not count towards the file limit at all.

Dropbox, on the other hand, offers in compassion only 2 GB of free space. However, it is possible for a user to expand the amount of Free Space that Dropbox has given them by doing some time consuming tasks, such as following the Dropbox account on Twitter, or referring their friends to the service.

The upgrades for Drive can be cheaper as well; if only a little bit more space is wanted, the cost of upgrading is only $1.99 a month for 100GB of storage, and for 1TB, $9.99 a month. Dropbox, however, has just one upgrade level for pro users, which is also $9.99 a month for 1TB. What Dropbox does offer though, which Google doesn’t, is the option to save money on a subscription by paying $99 a year for the same level of space.


When you are focused on creating a good user experience, then knowing how fast each service will operate, and how much you can rely on them is important.

Google Drive wins, just barely, for uptime in the Pingdom study done on this.

However, Dropbox does also win for speed, coming in faster than Google Drive.

Working with the API

Of course, no matter what features the service offers, it is all for naught for developers if the API isn’t great.

Both Dropbox and Google Drive require the same items to authenticate, with a client ID, client secret, Redirect URI and a CSRF Token, so there is no difference in terms of this between the APIs.

Where the Google Drive API excels is reducing complexities. It is easy to do more with less functions, as long as you now the file ID. Google Drive operates completely on each file having an ID, and each folder having an ID. Methods for moving fields between two places are as simple as adding two different IDs into a function.

However, creating new folders and choosing locations for Drive is a lot more complicated. There is no path system within the Google Drive API. This means that, for example, if you want to insert in a file into a five folder directory, will need to fetch the ID of each of these five folders separately.

In compassion, the Dropbox API allows you to pick which one you want to use, IDs or Paths. Each method can take either value, so you can also switch and change within the same code.

Recommendations for what API to integrate when using CloudRail

Which API you choose to use within your application will depend heavily on what you are doing within your code. If your main focus is going to be on moving things around and being able to use absolute file paths instead of having storing IDs all the time, then you should choose the CloudRail Dropbox API.

However, if your focus is going to be the individual files themselves, and you don’t need to keep track of folder locations, then your choice should be to use the Google Drive API.

However, the great thing with CloudRail is that you can choose the best of both worlds, just by integrating both services via the same API.

Give CloudRail a try today.

Integrate All Cloud Storage APIs

Do you need services like OneDrive or Box as well? We recommend you to give CloudRail a try.

It is a simple library which you can include in your app instead of the native SDKs from Dropbox, Google etc. CloudRail then provides you a single API to integrate all providers. So for instance the function upload() works exactly the same for Dropbox as it does for OneDrive.

Moreover the authentication via OAuth is made very simple. Learn more about the Unified Cloud Storage Interface.

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