Dropbox is a remote back-up service that provides a very simple way to store files in a version-controlled environment. I’ve been using Dropbox to synch and provide back-ups for some test files on several computers at home.
How does it work?
First you need an account from Dropbox*.
Then you need to download and install the Dropbox software on your computer (Mac or PC).
When you install the software it creates a directory called “Dropbox” somewhere on your computer. On a Mac, this directory is created in your “places.” On a PC this directory is in “my documents.”
You will need to login to the software after you install it so Dropbox knows which web account to tie your computer to. You can install the software on multiple computers, tethering them to your single Dropbox account.
The next step is to simply drag and drop any files that you would like to back-up into your Dropbox directory. It’s that simple. Dropbox copies those files to all computers tied to that account.
If you edit a file in Dropbox and save it, the changes will be updated across all computers tied to the account. The old version will be saved as well, just in case you need to revert back to a previous version. The version control is one of the best features of Dropbox in my opinion.
Sharing is caring.
Another interesting feature of Dropbox is the ability to share files with friends in a public folder. This makes collaboration on projects very convenient. I can see this feature being popular with web designers, writers, developers or anyone else who needs to work remotely with another team of individuals on a single group of files.
Dropbox received seed money from Y-Combinator, a company specializing in funding start-ups in their early stages with small investments to aid in the company’s initial growth.
I suspect they will sell tiered account packages, charging for additional storage or features. However, for now, the beta is free with 2GB of storage.
If you happen to try the service, let me know what you think.
* Dropbox is currently in a beta release as I write this post, but I have 6 invitations. If you would like one, leave a note in the comments of this post and I will send you one (until supplies last).