What is Dropbox?
Very briefly, Dropbox is a cloud storage service that allows users to place content in a special folder on each of their computers. This folder synchronizes to the cloud so that it appears to be the same folder
with the same contents regardless of the computer or device it is viewed on.
Here is why I love Dropbox:
1. The Cloud
Although it’s made for it I don’t like to carry my laptop around all the time. At the office I am mainly working on one desktop pc that also serves as main data backup hub with basically all files and photos I ever came in touch with on its hard-drive several external drives and USB sticks. Sounds a bit like a mess? Not any more!
Before Dropbox I used to copy everything that I was currently working on on USB flash drives. Which caused three main problems: 1) I often forgot or lost (worse) the drives, 2) whatever I had forgotten to put on the drive was not available to me and I had either to live without or drive back to the office to get it, 3) The big mess: I ended up having three versions of one my files on my laptop, USB stick and my office PC. Very often I deleted the wrong version or lost a lot of much time figuring out where was the newest file. Think about something you worked on last week.
Now, I basically work only in my Dropbox folders. So whenever I get off my PC I know when I open up my laptop at home that everything is there.
2. Project management
We are working in very diverse teams that are spread all over the world. With Dropbox it is easy to provide a colleague in Japan with a missing a manual within seconds.
“You changed the budget?”
“Let me see”. Bam there it is.
There are not tens of emails floating around with several versions of drafts. Dropbox makes sure nothing gets lost and even if you should happen to work on the same document at the same time Dropbox will let you know.
Dropbox also allows you to share certain folders to people without Dropbox account. It only takes few clicks to arrange it. No complicated FTP server setup necessary.
3. On the road
We use Dropbox also as an everywhere accessible database of information.For example we keep all presentations of everyone in the group in a Dropbox folder. Thus, when in a meeting Client A asks you whether you can recall the figure on slide four of the presentation your colleague gave in client B’s headquarter last month you can easily say “Sure, here it is”.
We also keep all important literature organized as pdf files in our Dropbox folders. Thus, we can easily access them with an e-reader even on our phones or tablets to read them conveniently. Pretty simple.
Just recently Dropbox added the functionality to automatically upload your cell phone photos to a Dropbox folder if you want to. For doing so you are even rewarded additional 1.5 GB free space.
I really came to love this feature. I already used to take cell phone photos of everything I wanted to remember, like the London subway chart, the inventory number of one of our appliances, the gas level and mileage of my rental, the broken box at mail receiving, my wife’s shopping list (I usually forget it in the car), business cards, the airline rep (with name tag) at the complaints counter, etc. This list is virtually endless. All these things are also immediately available on my computer.
Some criticized Dropbox for its rates on premium accounts. While the arrival of Google Drive has indeed spiced up the competition and lead to overall lower rates, good service is worth to spend some bucks on. It cannot last otherwise.
However, since then the free space has increased a lot and a very smart move are the tons of free space that Dropbox gives away to Universities (Space Race). You can see the thousands of future executives who are willing to pay for good service they enjoyed once they enter the work force. Like I wrote Dropbox has never let me down in the more than last two years. I also tested some of the other services, like Google Drive and Sky Drive, but Dropbox came out as the clear winner. BTW, here is an excellent Blog comparing a couple of available cloud storage services: The Cloud Storage Showdown – Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive & More
While I also use Google Drive privately and also utilize some of the Google apps functions in the office, all important files are stored in Dropbox exclusively for a reason.