I revisited this post as I installed it for my new Android phone (and now there is a beta BlackBerry version - slots filled, sorry!).
Now, DropBox isn't like every other online storage service - - or at least not like the Microsoft SkyDrive service which I used previously...DropBox works like this:
- You sign up for service, install client utility on computer 'A'
- Client utility creates 'My DropBox' folder under 'My Documents'
- Client copies/synchronizes contents of My DropBox to your DropBox account
- You install client utility on computer 'B'
- Client brings all files down from your DropBox online account to your 'My DropBox' folder on this computer (B)
- You change a file on Computer B, files get uploaded and then synchronized to Computer A as soon as the client utility connects from that computer
Share your DropBox files
The beauty of DropBox is that you have the ability to share an individual file or a whole folder to a user. Simply right-click a file or folder under the 'My DropBox' directory to see the option.
- You share a folder with another user (who has a DropBox account and client loaded)
- Your contents are dropped to their computer - any changes made by them or you is synchronized to/from all computers that are shared (I'm not sure how it handles conflicts as of yet).
FYI: When you share a folder, your recipient will get a local copy of your shared folder - so, it goes without saying to try and not share a folder with more contents than what your recipient has in free drive space!
Download your folders as a ZIP file
A cool feature that the web site provides is the ability to download a shared folder as a ZIP file. So, if you don't have DropBox installed on a PC, you could download your folders as needed.
Refer to DropBox, get more space
The only downside to DropBox is that the free account is limited to 2Gb - but there is a cool offer for those who send referrals to DropBox. When you refer other users to sign up for the service and they create an account and download the client, you and your friend automatically get an additional 250Mb of free space!
Referral-related free space is limited to an additional
Available across multiple platforms
There's an app for that...OS. I've personally used the iPad (ok, I've opened it on my friend's iPad), Linux, Android and iPhone app in addition to Windows - and they all work without any learning curve.
If you share a folder with someone and they delete an object, it will delete in your folder as well! Be warned!
Idea: Pyramid scheme!
How about a pyramid scheme type of system for referrals? User 'A' refers 'B', User 'A' gets 250Mb of space, User 'B' refers User 'C' - User A gets 125Mb, B gets 250Mb? Or, if a referral purchases a year's worth of space, the referring member gets a significant increase in space?
I love DropBox and use it daily. It is like an Internet attached USB drive where I can keep all my stuff that I really need synchronized (and backed up if my system crashes!).
Idea #2: Poor man backup for small business or home office
Fun backup tip for small businesses/users (not necessarily small users...!): Have a backup run and create an archive in your Dropbox folder. After it synchronizes to another PC, have that computer move the file to an archived or other backup device.
Do you have any other ideas about how to cleverly use Dropbox (or other online storage solutions)? Post them in the comments section below (I apologize for the dates of some of the comments, I updated this article so some comments are related to the original post from March of 2009).