Dropbox is a web service which enables you to access your files from anywhere, it’s a robust and secure backup, file sync and sharing web service compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux and Mobile* platforms.
The service is free to use, when you sign up you get 2GB of storage to start with. This can then be increased but you will need to subscribe to a premium package. The service utilises Amazon S3 as the cloud storage solution, as such your data is also protected by Amazon’s encrypted (AES-256) servers. All transmission of file data and metadata occurs over an encrypted channel (SSL). Online access to your files requires your username and password.
Once you have uploaded files to your dropbox account you can access them directly from the website, or via any machine that has the Dropbox client installed. The Dropbox client integrates with the operating system, so when you save your files to the Dropbox directory on your PC they automatically sync with the cloud server in real time. What this means in practice is you can work on a document from your work PC in the afternoon, and then continue working on the document from your home PC in the evening – no e-mailing, USB pen drive or manual uploading to a web server, it all works seamlessly.
If you want to collaborate with work colleagues or friends you can save files to a pre-defined ‘public’ folder which then enables you to send a link to people so they can download the file you want to share with them. Sadly you can only send a link to a single file, and not a folder, which is a shame. There is also a public photo album folder, which is indexed and can be shared with friends by simply sending them a web link. You control which photo’s are shared by dragging them into the photos folder on your computer.
In short – Dropbox goes well beyond online backup and file sharing. Try it for yourself, i’m sure it will make your life easier as it has mine!
*Internet capable Mobile devices can utilise the Dropbox web access service via a mobile optimised website.