If you’ve ever needed to transfer files that are too big for email, or wanted some “in the cloud” storage for important documents, or been at the wrong computer to get that really important file, then you might find this interesting.
Dropbox is a service that offers native clients for Windows, Mac and Linux, plus mobile versions for iPhone, iPad, Android (Blackberry coming soon), and a simple, easy to use web interface. If you sign up and install the software, it gives you a magic folder on your computer. Anything you save in that folder will be copied to Dropbox’s storage, and can be automatically synchronised to any other computers where you install the software. Subject to the limitations of what your choice of mobile device can open, you can also get the files from your phone. Nice.
You can also set up a public share so you can give people those large files that you can’t email.
Think of it as an online backup for vital documents – insurance records, serial numbers for your software, anything that you might want to get hold of when you’re away from your main computer, or that you’d have to restore from a backup if your computer failed or was stolen.
Sounds good? Well, I’ve been using it for a while now, and I have to say I like it a lot. I find that it synchronises files faster and more reliably than Apple’s Mobile Me service, which sometimes for some people decides that it won’t synchronise files no matter how hard you kick it. The website is quick, and I’ve found that uploads and downloads work as expected. The mobile clients do what they should, and as the service is growing in popularity, a number of useful apps support opening files from Dropbox, making it much easier to get files on iPads than through iTunes.
Sounds really good? Well, it gets better. All this lovely file storing, synchronising and twiddling starts at the quite reasonable price of free. For no money at all, you can have 2GB of storage. Now that’s not enough to store your photo library, or a lifetime’s work, but it’s plenty for important documents, and if you need more space, it’s available for moderate prices.
And to make it more interesting, they’ll give you some more space if you fill in their survey, and even more space if you persuade people to sign up for the free service. Which leads me to the linky thing:
Yes, that is a referral link, and for everyone who signs up through it, Dropbox will give me an extra 250MB storage, which I might fill one day. Feel free to use it or not use it as you like.
Whether you use my link or not, Dropbox is worth a look.