I am always looking for ways to minimize costs and maximize the effectiveness that I get out of my tools, so it should be no surprise that when Google’s GDrive was announced I jumped all over it. The reasons were clear: I was a heavy Dropbox user and Google offers double the storage for half the price. Overall, I am pretty happy with the service, though there are some quality of life changes Google could make: for instance, it would be nice if I could control how much bandwidth the GDrive client uses at certain times of day; this is something that I have come to love in CrashPlan.
Still, it is likely that Google will add that functionality to the Mac client at some point in the future. There is one thing that they should fix now: Performance.
GDrive takes approximately four to five times as much RAM as Dropbox when idle or syncing. In my limited testing on both a 2012 Mac Mini and 2011 Macbook Pro have Dropbox using around 40MB GDrive uses 200+MB. While syncing Dropbox jumps to the high 50’s and low 60’s on my machines. while GDrive gets pretty close to 250.
I did some poking around and it seems that at least part of the GDrive client is written in Python, rather than C++ or Objective-C. This makes a lot of sense from Google’s perspective, since Python can run on Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows. Also, if you know anything about Google’s love for Python you’d know that most Googlers would write a Python script to make a cup coffee. I a am not suggesting that Python is a bad language, so keep the hate mail to yourself. However, this does feel a bit like a case of write once, suck everywhere.
To be clear, this issue is not enough to get me to quit the GDrive just yet, but it does seem like a little more effort could have been put in here.