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Dropbox Wants Free Users to Pay by Limiting Them to Three Devices, But Google One Offers Better Value

The Google One storage options offer significantly better value for most users

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:March 15, 2019, 9:35 AM IST
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Dropbox Wants Free Users to Pay by Limiting Them to Three Devices, But Google One Offers Better Value
The Google One storage options offer significantly better value for most users
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Cloud storage service Dropbox could either be embarking on what is a masterplan to switch free users to paid premium subscriptions, or simply shooting itself in the foot. The currently popular cloud storage service has quietly updated the usage policies for the active accounts, and as of this month, users on the free Basic subscription tier will only be able to link your account to only three laptops, PCs, phones or tablets.

If you are a Basic tier subscriber and the change isn’t reflecting yet in your account, fear not, because it will soon be rolled out for all users. If you wish to link more devices to Dropbox, you will have to upgrade to one of the paid subscription options.

At present, there is the Dropbox Plus and the Dropbox Professional subscription options to choose from, if you so wish. The Plus tier offers 1TB of cloud storage space, unlimited device linking and all the other features such as two-factor authentication, Microsoft Office 365 integration and 256-bit AES and SSL/TLS encryption. This will cost you $9.99 (around Rs 692) per month. Then there is the Professional tier, which bundles 2TB of cloud storage as well as shared link controls, full text search, viewer history and smart sync, in addition to all the Plus tier options. This is priced at $19.99 (around Rs 1384 per month).

It is impossible to see this as anything but a nudge for the free Dropbox subscribers to move to the paid subscription tiers. As of September, Dropbox had already clocked around 500 million users, of which 12.3 million reportedly were paid subscribers. As per research firm Statista, Dropbox generated $1.4 billion in revenue in 2018, up from around $1.1 billion in 2017.

But if you really had to fish out your credit card, should you upgrade to a Dropbox paid subscription plan? Well, it would indeed be the easiest to upgrade and be done with it. However, if you look around, you’ll realize that the Dropbox Plus and Dropbox Professional plans don’t offer the best value, if you are purely looking at it in terms of the storage space on offer—think about it, if you don’t already use the ‘power’ features on Dropbox, you would probably not need these right away anyway.

Look towards the direction of Google One, the company’s cloud storage options for better value. For the one storage space that you sign up for or even pay for one of the higher spec plans, you will be able to make this a one stop shelf for Google Drive storage, Google Docs, Google Photos and Gmail. At present, Google One offers the free tier with 15GB storage space—Dropbox offers 2GB in comparison. If you wish to get more Google cloud storage, it will cost you Rs 130 per month for 100GB, Rs 210 per month for 200GB and Rs 650 per month for 2TB—all with the option to share the storage with family members too, for their Google accounts as well as no device limits. At least not yet. The only trouble will be to shift your documents from one cloud storage or another, or you could simply leave them there—Dropbox won’t delete them—and start afresh with Google One.
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