There are many cloud storage options out there, but one that has been receiving a lot of positive press recently is Dropbox, which went public at last week’s Techcrunch50 after a successful invite-only beta run. Garnering accolades such as “amazing”, “best of the breed”, and “the greatest thing to come to online storage since, well, ever”, Dropbox is hard to ignore – perhaps this is the company that will make cloud storage mainstream? Dropbox makes it possible to easily leave behind emailing yourself documents or uploading them to a flashdrive in order to use them on different computers. This is of course not a new idea, but what is new with Dropbox is its ease of use.
Installed, Dropbox creates a Mydropbox folder into your Documents folder. It works like any other folder, so all you have to do is drag and drop to synchronize with Dropbox servers and your other computers. It even synchs across platforms, supporting Windows, OSX, and Linux.
Shared folders are available for collaboration, and there are public folders for music, image, and file sharing. The program also gives URLs to shared documents so that anyone can access them, whether they have Dropbox or not.
A really helpful feather is that Dropbox monitors changes and even document revision history (Dropbox calls this a “virtual time machine”), allowing you to recover deleted items and earlier revisions.
Two gigabyte storage plans are free; larger premium accounts cost $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. Dropbox plans to keep the smaller plans free, while making money through its premium subscriptions. With its simplicity, monetization through enterprise adoption of Dropbox is easy to foresee.
The key to Dropbox’s positive reception is its simplicity. It handles in such a way that even the most basic OS-navigation skills will suffice. The interface is elegant in the fact that it looks something we already know how to use – no unnecessary and unmarketable re-inventions of the wheel. This is a nice example of not demanding the market change its habits in order to adopt, but adapting to those habits in order to change.