By Nerino Petro at 22 November, 2010, 6:50 pm
If you haven't signed up for a free Dropbox account, you should do so. Now. Immediately. Don't Delay. Get'r Done. You get the idea and that's how strongly I feel about this terrific tool that is part online storage, part file synchronization and part file sharing service.Dropbox provides you 2 gigabytes of free online storage plus file sharing and synchronization services. It allows you to synchronize files placed in your online Dropbox accounts, but—by installing the Dropbox desktop application—you can automatically synchronize new and changed files between your accounts and each Dropbox folder created on your desktops, too.
An added benefit and a unique feature of Dropbox is the ability to perform a Delta sync, which transfers only the parts of a file that have changed. This increases synchronization speed and lowers bandwidth requirements. Because Dropbox places an exact copy of the file found in the online storage on your desktop, you can work on these files even if you’re not connected to the Internet. Once you reconnect, any changes made offline will synchronize to your Dropbox account and from there to any other Dropbox folders you’ve created on other computers.
Dropbox doesn’t restrict the file types you can add, and it works with Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as iPhones and other Internet-capable devices. Moreover, sharing files in Dropbox is easy. Once you’ve added a file to your Dropbox folder, just right-click on “Copy Public Link” to copy a unique URL that you can then e-mail to others to give them direct access to that file. You can also share new or existing folders to facilitate collaboration. Once you share a folder with someone, it gets added to that person’s Dropbox and any changes will be synchronized.
Among its security features, Dropbox uses SSL security protocol in your browser to create an encrypted link between your browser and the company’s servers, with AES 256 encryption to secure the files. Accessing your online files requires your username and password. According to the company, public files and folders can be viewed only by people you’ve given the specified URL to, and the company’s employees are not able to view any user’s files. One potential downside to Dropbox, though. If you have limited hard disk space, you’ll want to avoid installing the Dropbox desktop feature since the synchronization process places the actual files on your computer, thereby taking up your disk space. For those who want more than the free Dropbox service with its 2 GB of storage, you can get Dropbox Pro with 50 GB of storage for $9.99 a month or 100 GB for $19.99 a month.
You can also increase the amount of free storage that you have by referring Dropbox to other users and getting them to sign up. With each friend who registers, each of you get an additional 250MB of free storage up to 8GB. You can sign up for Dropbox AND get 250MB of additional storage right now here.