Simplifying to Google Drive and Dropbox

In my last post I discussed transitioning from Mozy to Google Drive, and I am happy to report that the transition is complete (well, sort of, the bits are still on their way up to the cloud). Of course, it wasn't enough to just switch services, I had to do some other things as well. To summarize:
  • Dumped Mozy's 125GB plan in favor of the 100GB Google Drive plan. Big savings of $5/month, or roughly 5% of my monthly Starbucks budget.
  • To fit within the 100GB storage plan, I no longer back up iTunes media (78.5GB!) this way. Instead, I rely on the already established iCloud account with the $25/year iTunes Match service. All my content is already backed up to iCloud, why the heck was I doing it again? With iTunes Match, ALL music is backed up (think MP3's purchased from Bandcamp or Amazon), not just music purchased from the iTunes store. 
  • Eliminated syncing to Microsoft's SkyDrive by moving all that stuff to Google Drive.
  • Moved Dropbox folder within my Google Drive for access to those files on both services.
So how'd it go? 

The Good

Google Drive uses a very simple interface and is very Dropbox-like. You have a folder called 'Google Drive' and everything you put in it magically floats up to the cloud. It's that simple, just like Dropbox. I'm using this on my Windows 7 PC, and after installing the application and choosing where to put the Google Drive folder you're good to go. The setup was a breeze, as was selecting the storage plan. Purchases are carried out through Google Wallet. 

The Google Drive folder is annotated in Windows Explorer with a little sync icon when it's waiting to sync, and a check mark when it's synced. Pretty unobtrusive. This is similar to what Dropbox does, as you can see in the following screen capture of all my various sync folders. This was taken before I moved my Dropbox folder into Google Drive and got rid of SkyDrive.

[Google Drive sync folder as shown in Windows Explorer.]

The Bad

I have to say, Mozy does a better job of allowing you to control what gets synced, at the expense of some complexity. For example, I used to back up my iTunes library. In the Mozy screenshot below, I was able to un-check boxes next to folders I didn't want to back up (podcasts, super large files, and other things that I won't be put on suicide watch for losing). 

[Mozy's folder selection interface - Un-check what you don't want to back up.]

Google Drive does allow you to select which of the top level folders within your Google Drive folder are backed up, but you don't get to be choosy within them. 

[Google Drive preferences window]

Forced into a full backup of my iTunes folder made it dawn on me that iCloud is already doing this for me. I can see how this could be an issue in other cases, so I hope Google adds the ability to selectively back up throughout the folder hierarchy later.

Lastly, I've had it crash on me a couple times since I installed it a few days ago. The application is clearly just out of beta, and they've got some work ahead of them.

The Ugly

Soon after installing Google Drive, I noticed that I was experiencing an extremely slow internet connection on my phone. Then I noticed that web pages were taking forever to load on my desktop. For whatever reason, my internet connection had suddenly become very slow. Painfully slow. It appears that Google Drive or my new modem is doing something awful to my internet connection. When Google Drive is off or paused, I get appropriate upstream and downstream speeds (more or less). When it's on and syncing, everything grinds to a halt, even though it's only uploading at a 300-400 kBps rate.

[Google Drive not uploading]

[Google Drive uploading, yikes!]

I suppose this is only really a problem during the initial backup phase, when many GB need to get squirted into the cloud. However, there's no excuse for this, and it could be a symptom of a bigger problem. If it's not Google Drive slowing my internet connection down to a crawl, it could be the Motorola 6121 DOCSIS 3.0 modem I just installed. I can run several more MBps on my local wireless (Airplay to 4 sets of speakers) while Google Drive is running, so the slow down is cant be caused by my router, leaving just the modem. One of the two is getting all gummed up; I need to figure out an experiment to find out which one...

Overall everything has gone OK, if we omit the whole super-awful-internet-speeds-thing. It's always something.