Thursday, September 20, 2012

Example: Dropbox, The Invisible File Sharing Solution

Remember the days of copying files from your computer to a flash drive, and then back on to another computer? Or perhaps you worked on a file at home, emailed it to yourself, downloaded and revised it in the library, emailed it to yourself, went back home, redownloaded it, and then emailed it to yourself once more for safe keeping.
Those dark days are behind us thanks to the onset of cloud-based storage.
Dropbox is a company leading the revolution since 2008. With Dropbox, you can browse a familiar file system through a web interface. Users can sign up to the website for free with 2 GB provided. Additional storage is available as a reward for friend referrals to the website or through a paid, subscription-based model.
A user's uploaded files are available from any web browser or through a cross-platform application. Uploading new files is as simple as dragging and dropping into a supported web browser, and downloading is as simple as right clicking and choosing from a context menu. Better still, folders and files can be shared based on multiple levels of privacy by email, username, or simply a unique URL.
Dropbox has a simple API that allows developers to interface with it. This has led to a further adoption of the services by users. Many applications allow for saving directly into Dropbox for simplification of file storage, an idea that companies like Apple and Google have adopted with iCloud and Google Drive respectively.
The idea of Dropbox is completely simple, and the most remarkable part of the web application is that it just works. It has changed my workflow as a student by enabling me to forget about how to move files around. Instead, I can work with the confidence that a file will be there when I need it.

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