I follow the cruncies awards from techcrunch every year looking out for the year’s best startups and web applications.I somehow missed analyzing the best internet application last year and it turns out to be the very useful ‘DropBox’.
Drop-box is like our traditional post-box where we post envelopes and they reach the destination without our intervention. The only difference in here is, we put our docs,images,videos and files in a magic folder on our home desktop and it follows us where ever we go. Like pin-code for a post, the only thing that is required is an internet connection, the rest is taken care the magic trick by dropbox.
The beauty of the tool is, it is so easy to register, install [installation is not required, if one want to use web interface itself] and simple to use. The installation client is available for Mac, Win, Linux, Iphone, Ipad, Android, Blackberry. The magic [autosync] can be seen once the client is installed and the magic folder is created.The client sits silently in the system tray and does the magic tricks. The magic tricks that dropbox can do are,
- Drop images into a folder created in the ‘photos’ folder, a right-click [windows] on the folder gives a sharable link. The link can be sent to friends for them to view the image in a gallery view.Add a new image to the folder and the gallery will be updated dynamically [ resembles the dynamic text/image update option in now closed Google Wave ] .
- Drop the files in the ‘public’ folder and same as above point, a sharable link will be provided for the file. Send the link to friends for them to download the file.Update/Modify the file and old link now gives the updated file.
- Drop files,images and videos inside custom folders created in the magic folder and they will be auto-synced with the dropbox server[website] and the dropboxes in your other devices where the dropbox client has been installed. The difference from above is that these will be private unless they are shared.
- Login via a browser into the website from anywhere and all the files can be downloaded from web.
- Login via the client from your other PC , Mac or a Mobile device and the dropbox folder in the machines will have the files you have dropped into your machine at home.
- Share the files or folders [right-click menu] with friend who also have a drop-box client, an invitation will be sent to them. Once they accept the invitation, the magic trick happens and the shared folder will be synced into their magic folder. Friends who don’t have dropbox client installed and have a registered account can access the file online.
- Once a file is shared, the shared user can modify the file.When a file in the shared folder is modified, a new copy with a name ‘conflicted copy’ and version number appended to it will be available to the others.
- People who don’t have a registered dropbox account and client installed cannot access shared links.Files can be shared with there people only using public links.
- Every file in the magic folder will be backed up online and here comes the best part , one can undelete files and folders deleted up to 30 days back. One can also restore previous [file before every save literally] versions of the files.
Currently the dropbox size is limited to 2GB for free users and upto 100GB for paid users.But there is a way for free users to upgrade the 2GB upto 8GB for free, all you need to do is, invite your friends to join dropbox. For each friend who joins, 250MB will be added to your dropbox.
Clearly this product stands out in the lot of file sharing tools, as it make sharing so simple and even people who r not so tech-savvy can understand and use this. By doing all the setup, when on vacation, i can just drop my images/videos into the dropbox folder in my laptop and ask my parents/family to just open the folder in the home computer to see them.
Thanks Dropbox for the innovation, i am loving it.:-)