The Ups and Downs of Dropbox

Dropbox offers a cloud repository for your files. Its basic subscription is free. I use it sparingly, but I always recommend it to people who need this kind of service. Still, I like to make folks aware of my pros and cons with it.

Pros: dropbox-pros

  • It’s free. A free account gets you 2 GB of space. For me, that’s not very much, but since I already have other areas where I save my digital music and the bulk of my images online – I use Dropbox to store a minimal amount of files I’m working on regularly and it suits that need fine.
  • It’s NOT Google. Between the Google search engine, my Android phone and Google everything else, I’m fairly thrilled to find something that isn’t integrated with Google. I know I could be using Google Drive to store and work on my files, but I’m a little tired of Google having access to everything I do. In my mind, they ARE Big Brother. Plus, I’m not terribly impressed with their Office-like app functionality.
  • It syncs. With average size files, syncing is pretty much drop and drag, wait a minute and bada-boom, you’re synced – your files are now available on your computer, your phone and your tablet. If you hate looking around for that flash drive or are simply in a hurry, Dropbox delivers as long as your internet does too.
  • You can share one or all of your files. If someone else has Dropbox, you can share certain files with them. They can even edit those files and share them back in your Dropbox if you are collaborating on a project. Even if they don’t have Dropbox, you can send them a link to view the files you want to share.
  • There’s an undo/delete. Who doesn’t like UNDO? Seriously? I’m a deleter from way back. I hate clogging up my email account with trash and spam. I go through it all as best I can and delete stuff permanently regularly. Some people can’t live with that process. At least with an undo/delete feature, you’ll feel a little more confident that your 1,000 page autobiography hasn’t disappeared off the face of the earth.

Cons: dropbox-cons

  • The interface is still confusing. I actually teach a class on Dropbox where I work just because older non-computer people find it a tad baffling. While it looks simple enough, it still feels clunky and when it comes to sharing some files and not others, you don’t want clunky, you want clean. You don’t want there to be any mistake about what files you’re sharing and those you aren’t. Which leads me to my next qualm:
  • They got rid of the Public Folder for newer users. The original Dropbox had a Public Folder that was automatically part of your Dropbox. The Public folder created a link to every file it contained for sharing purposes. This folder is still available to older users, but now requires a paid subscription to be available to new users. Plain and simple, the Public Folder made it very clear what files you were sharing. I would suggest getting a personal and business Dropbox to avoid some confusion in this area or get a paid Dropbox account. (Boooo!)
  • It’s more Crap in the Cloud! Everything and everybody is getting hacked these days. You do your best to prevent it and YET-now you’re purposefully putting documents in the dang cloud. All I can say about this rant is, be careful what you put out there if you’re ever worried it might get in the wrong hands. Also keep in mind, you may never get hacked! (That doesn’t mean you should avoid wearing your safety belt.) I don’t mind putting my music and even images in the cloud, but personal documents – no. I would consider email safer in that respect, but even that ain’t bullet proof.
  • You start with 2GB of space for free. As I said earlier, that isn’t much to me, but it could be fine for you. I find it funny that Dropbox encourages you to save all kinds of files in their little box; photos, videos, etc., but those file types take up gobs of space. This is why I use Dropbox as a temporary solution for documents I’m currently working on, not as a storage place. If storage is what you need and it’s important enough, you’ll pay to play.
  • It can be slowww. These days, if things don’t happen in a millisecond, we’re all crying foul! Dropbox is as good as your internet service and even then, it can be slow. Have patience, Grasshopper. There are only a trillion people on the internet doing the same stuff as you. We’re lucky the whole thing doesn’t just blow up sometimes.


4 thoughts on “The Ups and Downs of Dropbox”

  1. was fun to read you article. But the only thing I don’t like about Dropbox is that it does not matter how much space you can get on Dropbox that it actually mirrors the entire Dropbox space on your computer. 2gb in dropbox also means 2gb on your drive except in Android I don’t experience this. With Google Drive this is not the case. Does anyone experience this too?

    1. Dave,
      I look at that as a feature! Where data is concerned two is always better than one. You can never have enough backups, and having the content duplicated locally and “in the cloud” is a big plus in my book.

    2. Dave,

      Both DropBox and Google Drive (and others like them), offer direct online services but encourage you to “install” the application on your computer for easy syncing.

      I deliberately use Google Drive, One Drive, and my personal Drop Box direct to cloud, but this means remembering to upload and update manually at intervals. These use no space on my local Hard Drive. My work Drop Box is used via the installed Drop Box folder which we share for collaboration.

      Our new Windows 8.1 computer at home is pushing Microsoft’s philosophy of syncing everything through a local One Drive folder and my wife fell for it. Her massive store of videos, photos, and music almost maxed out the 1TB hard drive although she thought she was simply putting stuff “in the cloud” rather than the computer.

  2. I was giving up Dropbox. Then I used dropbox18gb.com service and increase my free Dropbox space from 2 gb to 18 gb. Now it’s enough for me 🙂

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