Some of you already use Dropbox because I wrote about it here about 2 years ago. However, I am still finding people that have never heard of it. It’s a pretty amazing and FREE service, so I wanted to update every one here. There are also some Dropbox alternatives that are worth checking out.
Okay, here is an example situation. You have a computer at work, and a computer at home. There is a file on your work computer that you want to work on at home. How do you to that? In the old days, you probably emailed it to your home address, worked on it there, then emailed back to your work address. How cumbersome and inconvenient! Not to mention some files might be too large to email.
Here’s how you would do it with Dropbox. First, create a free account here.
Then install the Dropbox software on your computer. When that is done, take a look at your Documents folder. You will see a new subfolder called My Dropbox. It will look and function just like any other folder on your computer. You can store any kind of file there – pictures, music, Word documents, spreadsheets, anything. In fact, let’s say you save a file there called “My homework.doc”.
Next, go home and get on your personal computer. Login to your Dropbox account at the website and download and install the software, just like you did at work. Now go and look at your Documents folder and find the subfolder called My Dropbox. See what’s in there – the “My homework.doc” file that you saved on your work computer!
And it is in fact the very same file. If you make changes to it at home and save it, you will see the most current saved version when you open it at work. It’s like magic!
Your free account will get you up to 2 gb of storage free, so if you are primarily using it for documents that’s a ton of space. And the sharing doesn’t have to be between your work and home computer. You might want to share between your desktop and laptop. Or one member of the family can share folders or files with other members of the family. The possibilities are endless.
There are some other services similar to Dropbox that you might also want to check out. They all give you some free space with your free account, so if you need a lot of space you could just sign up with each of them and use the free storage that is offered.
Spideroak (www.spideroak.com) – like Dropbox, gives you 2 gb of free storage. Instead of a designated folder on your computer, you choose which files on your computer you want to backup or sync with other computers.
Wuala (www.wuala.com) is another file sharing service. Seems just about identical to Spideroak – view your files, backup, sync, etc. as needed.
Windows Live Mesh (http://explore.live.com/windows-live-mesh?os=other) is similar, but requires you to have a Windows Live account. Some people already have that from using other services such as MSN or Hotmail.
One other feature for virtually all of these services is that they offer apps for your iPhone and/or Android phone – so you can access your data even if you aren’t at a computer. For me, that is extremely handy.
Do you use a file sharing service other than these? Let us know your experience in the comments section below this blog post.