Dropbox has been getting a whole heap of webplay recently, not least because it seems to work really well and really easily. The idea is you download the client and then drag files and folders you wish to share into your newly created ‘dropbox’ account. This then immediately makes them available to any computer via the web (or cloud if you wanna be trendy).
Now there’s a bunch of file sharing, backup and sync services out there, but what makes this one different is the fact that it’s a no-configuration, no brainer set up and use tool. You don’t have complicated installations, and you don’t need to laboriously upload stuff via Ajax interfaces etc, just drag and drop the folder or file into your Dropbox and it’s instantly available to you wherever you are in the world.
The free service offers 2 GB of space, but for a measly $99.00 a year you can get 50 GB storage, which should be enough for your important sharing files. Most users seem to compare it with having a USB key full of stuff, rather than a backup service. One very neat point is it keeps copies of all the versions of your files, so if you inadvertently delete something, you can always pop online and get it back. Now that’s definitely worth the price of admission if you’re a bit of a sloppy joe. Couple that with the fact that it makes sharing files between different machines a snap and it’s no surprise that it’s getting so much attention. Check out this review for an example.
Does Dropbox always upload/download the entire file any time a change is made? Dropbox tries to be as smart as possible about uploading for the best possible performance. Before transferring a file, we compare the new file to the previous version and only send the piece of the file that changed. This is called a “binary diff” and works on any file type. Dropbox compresses files before transferring them as well. You also never have to worry about Dropbox reuploading a file – it’s smart about this, too.