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Dropbox for Synchronized File Sharing

Dropbox is a new option that might appeal for sharing files among multiple computers you own and among work groups of varying people. It’s an Internet-hosted offering that provides 2 GB of storage for free, and 50 GB for $9.99 per month or $99 per year.

To use Dropbox, you install a small program under Mac OS X or Windows, as well as several flavors of Linux. The program creates a folder where you tell it to that looks just like a regular folder or directory. However, any items placed into, removed from, or modified within that directory are immediately and automatically securely synchronized with all other copies.

For an individual trying to keep certain files up to date among multiple computers, Dropbox is a simple way to avoid having to set up archives. While iDisk within MobileMe ($99 per year for all MobileMe services) can achieve this, it’s not a good option for non-Mac users, and it has delays in synchronizing. It’s also, frankly, not very clever about how it performs updates.

Dropbox also shines for workgroups. You can, via the service’s Web interface, take any folder and share it to a group of people you select. On accepting an invitation to share the folder (via email notification and then the Web site), the folder appears in their Dropbox folder and, again, works like any other folder.

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p>Dropbox also archives files as you modify them, allowing you to download older revisions via their Web site. It also hosts simple photo galleries, and more. You can read more about Dropbox at TidBITS in Dropbox: A Collaborator’s Dream.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman (Permalink)