Here I go with another one of my favorite web applications. This one is a cross-over web/desktop application. Read on to find out why:
Anyone with multiple computers like a desktop, personal laptop and a work laptop would know the pains to find the right file you need for a task at hand from one of those computers.
It just adds to the complexity if you are sharing some of those documents with someone else. You probably find yourself continuously uploading, downloading files, syncing you folders with an online storage solution.
I have had the privilege of using DropBox (still in private beta) for the last few weeks and I am definitely amazed by the thoughtfulness of the developers. It is designed to be completely painless to use while consuming reasonable amount of resources – cpu & bandwidth.
You just need to install the DropBox software (7 MB file) in your computer and it integrates with the file explorer and runs in the background. From your online account, you link your web account with the desktop software. From then on, anything you drop in the ‘My DropBox’ folder gets sync’ed with your online account.
- Access files in your home computer from anywhere via Internet in a web browser
- Synchronizes multiple computers if you linked them all with the same account instantly.
- Dropbox saves your previous revisions as backups online and you can revert to an older version very easily
- Delete a file by mistake? Restore a copy from online.
- No software interface to learn. Seamlessly integrates with your Windows/Mac native environment
- Share files with friends and family by sharing a folder with them.
- Sync is almost instantaneous. File changes are detected as incremental changes instead of uploading/downloading whole changed files.
- Blue icon on a file/folder indicates that the sync on that particular item is pending and green means it’s in sync.
- 5GB of free online storage while in private beta
- Even when you are away from your computer, just upload files (25MB max) to your online account and when you go home, it’ll be in your home computer. Ready for you.
- If all this isn’t enough, if you’d like to download a large folder from your online account, there is an option to download the contents of the folder as a zip file saving you precious time.
- You can share a url to your photos folder with friends and family. No more choosing photos to upload to special service.
- Works right now on Windows & Mac but a Linux version is promised in the future.
- Works seamlessly through proxies as well.
The real beauty of this solution is in the simplicity and how transparent it is to you once you start using. Since it’s in beta, it is free for 5GB but the developers have plans to add paid plans in the future. For such a cool service, I really wouldn’t mind paying as I have already been contemplating a reliable online storage system like Amazon S3.
I would love to see more features like profiles for different computers. It would be nice not to sync my personal files like Music, Photos, etc. to my work laptop. With the service in closed beta, I am sure there will be more features coming up before the public release.
Here are some screenshots for you to enjoy:
Green = In sync; Blue = Sync-ing
Online interface to your files/folders
Revisions of a file I was working on
I have a few invites for Dropbox. If you’d like to try it, leave me a comment and I’ll send it to your email.
What do you think of this service? How much is the comfort this service offers worth to you?