Dropbox to Google Drive Sync

A number of companies send me documents in Dropbox. I am happy to get them that way. Most of these documents are .doc, .xls, and .ppt files. Since I don't use word, excel, and powerpoint anymore as part of my committment to move my entire computing experience to the cloud, I end up doing a hack which involves downloading the files to my desktop, then emailing them to myself in gmail, then opening them as google docs in google drive.

This convoluted process has the added benefit of then being able to share these documents freely with the USV team in our shared google drive. Many of the documents that are shared with me on Dropbox are shared in folders that I don't control and the rest of the USV team doesn't have access to.

What I am currently looking for and doing a fair bit of research on is the available services out there that sync Dropbox to Google Drive. I want to find one that works easily and reliably, and that allows me to automate the syncing of various dropbox folders to my google drive and then be able to open the file as a converted google doc.

I'd be grateful for advice on services that all of you are using to accomplish this task. If you are an entrepreneur who has built such a service, feel free to advocate for your service in the comments. We won't accuse you of spamming us with your marketing pitch.

Once I select a service to use, I will post about it here.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    That seems like a logical feature, and I’m surprised that Dropbox or Google haven’t provided it. Why not contact them directly? This is a bit like the previous request we discussed here for saving Gmail Attachments into a searchable Drive.And yes I agree that the Dropbox file sharing is a bit confusing when working across organizations and users. I’m never sure exactly about who has access rights.

    1. Aaron Klein

      There’s a big need for all of these cloud services to represent data in an open way so we can transfer things between them.If only there existed some kind of “Uniform Resource Locator” that could let us reference objects across the web. We could call it a URL for short. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Timothy Meade

        It seems the definition of resource has changed a little, it now has an ACL attached to it and that is what is hard to expose from one of these platforms. Connectors probably aren’t the answer.

  2. Ted Rheingold

    This doesn’t answer your question Fred but I just saw a demo by groupiter which ads a discussion layer on top of Dropbox files shared by teams. Sounds like you could also use something like that for gdrive.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a good idea. we would use it.

  3. jocelin

    I have been using http://wappwolf.com/dropbox… to solve this problem. It syncs and converts between several services and formats

    1. David Nagy

      I would also recommend Wappwolf. They definetely have a nice product that can solve your problem and maybe a few other ones.”Full Disclosure”:Christian H. Leeb, one of the advisors I have on board at my startup is involved with them as a CVO.

      1. fredwilson

        cool. will check it out.

    2. fredwilson

      nice. thanks for the suggestion. i will check it out.

    3. ShanaC

      I’m deleting your duplicates, I hope you don’t mind!

  4. Al Mazzone

    I didn’t realize that I need something like this until you wrote about it. I imagine there is a substantial audience in a similar situation. Thanks yet again for opening up a new possibility.

  5. jeff oconnell

    have you played with dispatch.io? i’ve only played with it a bit, but love the idea!

    1. fredwilson

      this is a techstars company, right?

      1. jeff oconnell

        yes. and i think their office is right across the street from usv – in case you need to make an in-person feature request. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Primadesk

    Fred, Using Primadesk you can drag and drop files directly from your Dropbox folder to Google docs. We are looking at adding a feature to automate this but we do not have that automation currently. We will also be introducing a sharing feature soon that will let you directly share the files that you have access to in Dropbox or other services.In general Primadesk lets users find, organize, share and backup all their cloud content in one place. We give users a “virtual” view of all their content in one place so they can drag and drop between services, search all their content with a single search. They can also access their original content with a single click using our single sign on feature.We would be more than happy to setup a quick demo for you. You can also look at the video on our webpage.

    1. fredwilson

      i would love an automated solution

      1. Robert Holtz

        I have this very issue myself. I also have files people send me through YouSendIt and wanting to push data from my Evernote cloud.For a simple quick fix, you might want to install the Google Drive Applet that would at least let you skip the emailing to yourself step so you could drag and drop directly from your DropBox to your Google Drive.But considering all the cloud drive services out there (i.e. Dropbox, box.net, YouSendIt, Google Drive, Apple iCloud/iDisk, Microsoft SkyDrive) plus all those locker services (i.e. SoundCloud, AmazonLocker) and photocasting services (Flickr, Yfrog, Photobucket, etc.) it seems to me that a consortium of some kind should develop an open synchronization protocol for cloud-based storage.The time to start thinking about this is now because there are just going to be more and more places in the cloud where your data is stored and more an more future places where you’d like it to be synchronized.I’ve got WAY more to say on this but I’m going to cut it here in the interest of brevity and in keeping the conversation going.

      2. Primadesk

        Will definitely let you know once we have this.

      3. Marc Lennox

        Openera (www.openera.net) is all about automation of file distribution, based on a rules engine. Plans are eventually to invoke the rules engine not only from e-mail attachements, but also from desktop files.

  7. Atin Garg

    Mybackupbox.com. Closest thing I know of.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks. i will check it out

  8. Jason

    You should checkout mybackupbox.com. I think they might be what you are looking for Fred.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks. i will check it out

  9. Gordon Bowman

    Don’t have a sync service to recommend, but maybe a better hack. Instead of emailing the file to yourself you could download Google Drive’s desktop software and drag the file into whatever Google Drive folder you want, e.g. your shared USV team folder.

    1. Shannon Wagner

      Agreed – I think this could solve the problem. Both Dropbox and Google Drive’s desktop client sync to a local drive. You could symlink a subfolder of the Google Drive into the Dropbox to link the two services.Of course this isn’t really a “cloud” solution (wouldn’t work with my Chromebook) but it might be good enough for now?

      1. smikolay

        I was thinking much the same – here’s a good overview on how to make it work (setup once then done): http://lifehacker.com/51546…Am currently using this to sync my docs to dropbox so that the next time my hard drive gives out I have an automatic back-up. Should be just as easy to sync the folders from the two apps.

    2. Brandon Marker

      yup. my process is the same, simple

  10. 't Is Tim

    Hi Fred, you can already automate much of this process through http://ifttt.com/ (mail every new file in dropbox to gmail). And i’m pretty sure that if you ask them politely, they’ll add Gdrive.

    1. fredwilson

      I tried that but I could only get it to work on public dropbox folders

      1. Linden Tibbets

        We (IFTTT) are still missing two things: Google Drive and any folder Dropbox triggers. Both are on our list to build!

  11. Jas

    Fred, you should check out mybackupbox.com, does exactly what you need, and the transfers can be scheduled to happen without you.The founders Eric and Mark are friends and super sharp guys.

  12. george

    I’m not sure now; iDisk worked pretty good but I think it’s getting killed off in a few days…

  13. heuristocrat

    This wappwolf service is pretty interesting. It has quite a few built in automation options. It would be a home run if it has some kind of rules processing so different files could be processed differently from one folder (now it seems you need separate folders for each set of actions.) But there appears to be an API that will allow you (and others) to develop smarter actions.For example if I drop a file of type PPT I might want it put on SlideShare and if I put a DOC I’d want to convert it to a PDF and put it on a document service and send a tweet out with a #yam and #in tag to tell people about it. You get the idea.With some work this thing could be really useful.

    1. fredwilson

      Looks great. Can’t wait to try it out

  14. Fred Stevens-Smith

    http://www.zapier.com ! In the current YC batch and super good hackers. if you asked them for this they’d build it in a heartbeat.

    1. Wade Foster

      Ironically we just started working on our Google Drive integration tonight. Basically it’ll let you take any file in a specific Dropbox folder and then automatically upload it to a specific Google Drive folder.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Great design

  15. Jas

    Hi Fred, you should definitely check out http://www.mybackupbox.com. They seem to do exactly what you need and the transfers can be made automatic.The founders Eric and Mark are friends and super sharp guys, if it’s close I have no doubt they can get it all the way.

    1. fredwilson

      Will do

  16. Eric Warnke

    Fred, it’s encouraging to see my users pushing Backup Box in your comments.Plain and simple, if you want to manage your documents on someone else’s website, go use Primadesk or Otixo, or whatever the other dozen document management apps might be. But if you’re looking for automated transfers from one to the other, and conversion from Google Docs to MS Office, then please check out Backup Box.You can also check out our Tech Crunch coverage from yesterday: http://t.co/ROjfmudFCheers,Eric

    1. fredwilson

      Will do eric

  17. Bernardo Carvalho

    Hi Fred, I feel Google Docs is a perfectly good replacement for Word and Powerpoint, but can you really live without Excel? Do you do any sort of serious financial analysis on the Google Docs spreadsheet? Every time I tried using that it was like pulling teeth.

    1. fredwilson

      VC doesn’t often require hard core excel stuff. We have one portfolio reserves prediction model that we run in excel but I don’t have to operate it.

  18. Laurent Boncenne

    try http://www.cloudringapp.comIt does exactly what you are looking for, and a little bit more.It basically allows you to setup syncing and backup rules between dropbox, google docs and evernote. They’ve apparently also added more services including box.net and gmail. Works in the background without having to do anything besides the initial setup.give it a try!

    1. fredwilson

      Nice. Will try it out.

  19. Nikhil Nirmel

    In dropbox, if you right click a file, and click “get link” (in the “dropbox” submenu) you can view and share presentations just as well as you can in google docs.

    1. fredwilson

      Really? I feel like I tried that a few times and it didn’t work.

      1. Nikhil Nirmel

        Yup, I think it’s a relatively new feature. There was an article about it in April: http://techcrunch.com/2012/

        1. fredwilson

          Thanks. Got your email too. Appreciate it.

    2. RichK

      That’s a pretty poor name (get link) for a “view file” functionality

  20. Martin Weigert

    It could work with Wappwolf.com.

  21. opinionstage

    Don’t think that Google drive will ever be as good as drop box!

    1. fredwilson

      It’s way better for me.

      1. leeschneider

        Can you explain why?

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Have you seen Google Music?Google’s cloud services are just in its infancy, and fairly underused.

  22. Anas Hashmi

    Many people recommended backup box. But I have never tried it. However, I have tried cloudhq.net. All I know is that it works And has more features than you’re probably looking for.

    1. fredwilson


  23. Joel Valdez

    Hello Fred!I sync my Dropbox and Google drive using this simple method I described in my blog: http://www.joelvaldez.com/h…It may sound super simple and basic, but it works for me like a charm!

  24. Joel Valdez

    Hello Fred!I sync my Dropbox and Google drive using this simple method I described in my blog: http://www.joelvaldez.com/h…It may sound super simple and basic, but it works for me like a charm!

    1. Britt from Shutterhire

      how long have you been doing this? any issues with version collisions, etc?

    2. Brad Nickel

      Definitely. Why complicate it. Just put one inside the other. I’ve decided to move completely to Google and keep the free folder on DropBox for when someone needs to share with me from Dropbox.

  25. Mark Essel

    Consider the constant between Dropbox and GDrive, a protocol. Good ole fashioned email, the ultimate API. Unfortunately a bit to labor intensive.Unless there’s continual sync between Dropbox & GDrive the advantage of sending a link is lost (no automagically updated materials).I’ve found Gdrive to be a little slower than Dropbox but cheaper per Gbyte.Does GDrive have a decent iPhone app?

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I will want something like this, purely for multiple backup purposes. For collaboration it is perfect as well, though synchronization can be an issue – though manageable.

  26. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Thanks Fred for posting about a problem that many of us have when sharing files. Lots of great suggestions below – I will be checking some of them out myself

  27. John@PGISelfDirected

    Very nice! Thanks, Fred.

  28. Krissie Thornton

    Fred, I recommend you try http://openera.net – we let you set up rules for having files and email attachments routed directly to Dropbox, Box.com automatically, and we’re in process of adding G Drive (being rolled out this week barring any unanticipated complications) – takes 2 minutes to set up.

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Looks good.

    2. Mike Mason

      This is seriously cool.

    3. Marshall Hargrave

      Krissie, looks good, but can it handle the Dropbox links. I have something similar that works great for auto routing attachments to either Dropbox, Box or Google Drive called attachment.me, but it does not pick up the files sent as Dropbox links embedded in emails.

      1. Krissie Thornton

        We don’t currently handle file links embedded in email. We’re definitely familiar with attachments.me, which works nicely when searching for a particular email attachment. Where we differentiate is letting you set up more customized filing rules – a.k.a Send all attachments with the word “Invoice” to X folder in Dropbox. You can also have us automatically tag and rate specific attachments to make finding files later even faster.

    4. jed

      it’s not as fast as you think.

  29. reece

    dispatch.io might work for this?@alex_godin could hook you up

  30. AndyGCook

    Hi Fred – CloudTop has actually solved this problem in a pretty elegant way. You should check it out when you get a chance. I know the founders and they are really passionate about bringing the desktop experience into the cloud – http://www.usecloudtop.com/

    1. R. Colin Kennedy

      Totally agree with Andy – CloudTop was designed with this exact use case in mind, rather than syncing it’s focused on web interoperability. I’m sure they’d love to have you try it out.

      1. Eric Warnke

        How are you differentiating yourself from Otixo?

        1. Brett van Zuiden

          Hey – cool to see some of our fans recommending us! CloudTop is the only service that actually allows you to take content from online file services (like Dropbox) and open it directly into online applications (like Google Docs). For developers, we also built http://www.filepicker.io to help web and mobiles applications pull in content directly in from Dropbox, Gmail attachments, Facebook, Webcam et. al.Happy to chat about it at [email protected], or hit me up on my cell at (408) 761-2080

  31. ShanaC

    Isn’t there a public folder in Dropbox that everything could be shared to- and which would live on your computer making it easy to send it to Gdrive.

    1. Techman

      I wouldn’t use Google Drive. Google states in their TOS that they get ownership of anything you upload there.

  32. ErikSchwartz

    Oh yes. I have this same problem. Looking forward to the comments.

  33. Guido Giordano

    Hi Fred,I no longer have problems with syncronizing my cloud because I use Openera (www.openera.net). I just set up the rules once and everything goes where it’s supposed to. I don’t have to worry about moving files and wondering where they are anymore. It’s just amazing! Check it out!

  34. Eric Leebow

    I think you may look into SugarSync, yet I’m not sure this does exactly what you’re looking to do. It shares across multiple devices.

  35. Kevin Swan

    Fred, mybackupbox.com does exactly what you are looking for!

    1. Pablo Ambram

      I use that as well, it’s an awesome product.

  36. Bernard Grobbelaar

    Hi Fred,Perfect solution is BackupBox which was featured in TechCruch earlier this week. Here is the link to the write-up: http://techcrunch.com/2012/… and the link to the service https://mybackupbox.com/ . I see others have also pointed you to Eric and Mark. I hope you post a follow up to let all know what solution you picked.

  37. Richard

    IPhone turns 5 today. Feels like it has been around for twice that. As I read earlier and as iPhone has shown, ย it is N0T about open source vs proprietary, these seem to be labels placed on technology by those in the thicket, the magic is the mix of the two.ย 

    1. Timothy Meade

      Yep, and iOS probably uses almost as much “open source” as Android, they share a common history in BSD, many system utilities, the rendering engine, and the javascript engine are all open source, Mach kernel, Linux, image libraries, etc.

  38. JC Fahmy

    Hi Fred, Check out Openera http://www.openera.net.It enables intelligent routing of files and email attachments to Box, Dropbox, or your cloud of choice – Google Drive coming soon. You set up the rules you want – fast, easy, and intuitive. No plug-in or sync’ing required. And there’s a mobile app coming soon so you can easily get any file you’re looking for while you’re on the move.

  39. JP

    This is a common pain point in this fragmented multicloud world, one that I think Openera (openera.net) solves eloquently. They route email attachments automatically to the right cloud destination based on a powerful rule system. They don’t support Google Drive yet but I don’t think that will take too long

  40. jresnicow

    When raising capital, I really liked sending Dropbox links precisely because I could control access to files (kill share links if necessary). I would not share a pitch doc through Google Drive, because the doc owner can’t prevent further sharing. I adopted this approach to focus decision making on interactions with the product and founders, not a document.

  41. Scott Woodall

    I don’t know how to trigger the event in Dropbox, but you can upload files to Google Docs/Drive by email via SendToGdocs (http://sendtogdocs.com).

  42. Chris Phenner

    What strikes me about this ‘Cloud Sync RFI’ comment thread is USV’s willingness to accommodate unsolicited and unstructured inbound of PPT/PDF docs. I love the open mind and the open inbox (if not open GDrive), but I am puzzled as to why USV would not insist on structured submissions of new business ideas.A submission flow (with structured data) strikes me as an opportunity to create a Crunchbase-like database of early-stage firms who seek feedback (or attention) for their ideas, and obviously those inbounds far outstrip USV’s ability to respond to them.Which is why AngelList exists. Entrepreneurs don’t have to hope that they find a free moment from of Fred and he somehow bangs back a response. But USV obviously seeks some vig over being just another participant on AngelList.The solution may be a ‘private exchange’ for early-stage inbounds, where USV can (i) receive pitches, (ii) sort//filter/tag their attributes and (iii) provide helpful intros/feedback as it can. This is also a way to manage periodic follow-ups, just services like Contactually and Mingl.y try to offer as Google Apps plug-ins.But to manaage cloud-based, unstructured PDFs/PPTs? Why?If Arrington could create Crunchbase, USV can crush that.

    1. Eric Warnke

      I feel like the biggest opportunities are never properly thought out and structured plans like you’re proposing they accept.

    2. Timothy Meade

      Google is supposed to have some really great internal collaboration software that deals with unstructured documents and plain text emails (for appointments and things). It seems they’ve only revealed a tiny fraction of “accidental” R&D accumulated over the years, stuff that would put a lot of teams dedicated to these pursuits to shame sadly. The real mystery is why if all the pieces are there, why haven’t they created one product that unites them and blows us all away?(I guess this isn’t quite on topic for this thread, but the failure of business at large to deal with unstructured data always seems to me to be an oversight, the fun part is all businesses all have some form of this problem but none have a solution.)

  43. matthughes

    This is a great feature/service request.I’m checking out all the suggestions – good stuff.

  44. Xiao Wei Chen

    Just put your dropbox folder inside your google drive folder.

  45. RacerRick

    It would be nice if Google Docs (Drive) just let you open a Dropbox doc by pasting the Dropbox URL.Or if Gmail recognized Dropbox URLs and let you open them in Docs (Drive) as they do with attachments.

  46. Mikev

    i would do 2 things:1/ avoid where possible to get information that you or a team need to act on in documents > rather get the info in a database / project mgt app and add alerts, workflow, status, due dates, person responsible, … > easier to manage, act and report on. So install a “light” procedure to get actional data in the right format right from the start (which could ofcourse still include things like “upload your ppt” > which then gets transfered to your gdrive or so).2/ in all other cases use one of the many suggested available solutions of which zapier is the one that made me smile this week.

  47. bizodo

    We are actually finishing the solution. Just knocked this out last week in the AngelHack hackathon. The full featured version coming in 2 weeks: Here is the demo video http://youtu.be/TyBytMfntO4. Check out the site at http://www.ododocs.com but only open to private beta.

  48. SF G$

    I frequently find myself wanting to create a new file directly in Dropbox, so that it is immediately available across all devices. I find it cumbersome to create a file on my laptop, upload to Dropbox, then access it on my phone. There has to be a better way?!

  49. ananddass

    So from Fred’s post, it appears that there are 2 use cases1. Ability to store Dropbox file URLs received by email into GDrive. This is for use cases where Fred receives emails.2. Ability to sync Dropbox folders with GDrive. This is for use cases that are not directly related to receiving mails but for repository sync.Feels like different different product requirements.Anand @ filepicker.iohttps://www.filepicker.io/

  50. Liyan David Chang

    Hi Fred,I’m a co-creator of Cloudtop, mentioned already, and working on filepicker.io, both of which are in this space.A simple solution to your stated problem of moving a Dropbox URL into your Google Drive might be Cloud Save, a Chrome extension. Once you install it, your right click menu will have the ability to save to various cloud services, of which you would want to choose to save into Google Drive. http://bit.ly/LuGy46Unfortunately, Dropbox share links are not direct; they take you to an intermediary page, so you’ll have to open the link, then right click save the download button. Happy to help walk you through the install or answer any other [email protected]

  51. Howard Greenstein

    Fred, I needed the same solution but via an iPad which still makes it hard to transfer files. My only option since my home computer was off (would have used LogMeIn) was onlive desktop. If any of these solutions work via mobile it would be great to know that.

  52. Josh Maher

    Have you thought of just using Office 365 for email and document collaboration? It seems you would avoid the mess altogether…

  53. Seer

    Fred,The problem you are describing is common when your information is fragmented across applications, web services, and even email accounts.We are designing a solution for this at SEER–you can find some basic details here: http://getseer.com/learn-mo…If you find this interesting, we are a start-up based in NYC and happy to share more details as we are currently in testing.Best,Conall

  54. tom

    “Since I don’t use word, excel, and powerpoint anymore as part of my committment to move my entire computing experience to the cloud, I end up doing a hack which involves downloading the files to my desktop, then emailing them to myself in gmail, then opening them as google docs in google drive.”Which tells everyone that you’re not producing spreadsheets or documents yourself, just reading other people’s work. Cutting edge

    1. Eric Warnke

      Why the hell don’t you just upload them in Google Drive and skip the email part?

    2. fredwilson

      that is not true at all. i have published many of the spreadsheets i have created in google docs on this very blog. sheese!

  55. Techman

    You do know that you give Google full ownership of what you upload right? I use Microsoft SkyDrive for my uploading needs, and I got the legacy 25 GB. If you need an office suite that is not Microsoft office, I suggest you look into LibreOffice. It is open source, not closed source like most MS products.

  56. Jackie

    I tried few of them, so far I think Joukuu.com has the best solution. But it’s not free…

    1. Tom

      Joukuu has a good idea, but the problem is you have to pay for the service first, and I believe most of us need to try the service before we make the payment. I strongly recommend the Joukuu team change its payment policy.

  57. joe blog

    Unlike dropbox or google drive, you can sync any folder and backup any folder. you can upload by email too. Sugarsync allows to sync multiple computers and can sync folders between multiple computers. Sugarsync gives 5gb, extra 0.5gb for using the link below, 2gb for inviting 20 friends,625mb for completing some simple steps and additional 250mb if you download and complete simple tasks on your smartphone app.Then there is the option of500mb per successful referral, 10gb if they take up a paid account.I got 8.375gb (5+0.5+2+0.625+0.250) within minutes. Get it by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/KbjOKH.

    1. fredwilson