Dropbox: online backup, file sync and sharing made easy

Dropbox is a tool that allows users to easily backup files, access those files on multiple computers and share them with colleagues, collaborators, friends and family. The greatest strength of Dropbox is its ability to easily backup and sync files. This also appears to be the main purpose of the program, as it is the most marketed and developed feature of Dropbox. However, Dropbox is also an effective tool for collaboration, especially because it allows users to view all previous versions of documents and retrieve documents that may have been accidentally deleted.

Dropbox markets themselves as a ‘magic pocket’, a place where users can store all of their files and access them from anywhere.  Free accounts allow users to store 2GB of data, but you also have the option to purchase accounts that store up to 100GB of data for a cost of up to $199.99 per year. After creating an account, users must download a Dropbox desktop application to their computer. Using this application, they can easily import files into Dropbox, and then after downloading the application onto their other computers or mobile devices they are able to view these files or add new files from each of these locations. Dropbox can be accessed from anywhere as the program is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux software, and can also be downloaded to iPhones, iPads, Androids and Blackberries. Furthermore, users can also access and upload files by simply signing into their Dropbox account (at www.dropbox.com). The website claims that the content is extremely secure and protected with encryption software.

On Dropbox’s website users can also manage their accounts and share files with friends or collaborators. The first time a user shares a file or folder, they must email it from Dropbox to anyone they want to share it with. Then the person (or people) who receives this email must signup for an account. Unfortunately, the only way users can view files is by downloading them to their computer. Then they can make changes to the files and reload them on Dropbox, where these changes can be instantly viewed by anyone else who has access to the file. On Dropbox, users can also make files public and viewable by anyone by placing them in a public folder. Dropbox assigns a unique internet link to every file placed in your public folder, and these links can be shared through email or any other information dissemination channel. Importantly, users can view past versions of files that were uploaded to Dropbox and also rescind folder or file access from any user at any time.

Overall, Dropbox is a great tool for storing and syncing files to multiple computers. It eliminates worries relating to file loss through computer crashes, and effectively replaces the need to constantly backup files to USB drives. However, a user must still backup files to Dropbox itself, so that their documents are stored within their Dropbox folder. Dropbox is also an effective tool for file sharing and collaboration. Allowing users to view and alter files on Dropbox’s website itself would make Dropbox a more effective collaboration tool.

Below is our SMiLey rating for the site:

Overall Score 4.4
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