A lot has happened in the storage market in the cloud since 2007 when Dropbox was born. Offering 2 GB space and relying on information system to strengthen the base of users, Dropbox had a different premise of “virtual disk” of the time service. It was not to save files to save, but keep their synchronized and accessible information anywhere.
Since then, Google came into play, after much speculation, supporting many types of files and harnessing the power of servers and expertise in search to make it simple for you to find any file scattered around. With Google Photos, you no longer need to worry about space: everyone is entitled to free, unlimited storage of photos and videos.
Microsoft strengthened onedrive and integrated its platform to Office 365 The cost-benefit package is to impress: For less than half what you would pay to Google or Dropbox, you can take the Microsoft productivity suite, 1 TB of space and minutes on Skype. Since Windows 8.1, the onedrive comes built into most used operating system in the world on the PC.
Even Apple started to invest in the market, having to review their decision to avoid at all costs one folder-based file system: today, iOS focuses on the idea that each application has its own space, and there is a ‘manager files “as in Android. But iCloud Drive is just that: a cloud service that allows you to organize everything into folders and files, as we are accustomed.
With so many advances of multibillion companies, it is curious to notice that Dropbox is still the best service of its kind.
The great advantage of Dropbox: Sync
I’ve been (or step) by the major cloud services: I have daily contact with iCloud Drive to be Mac and iPhone user, I used the onedrive for nearly a year due to the attractive prices of Office 365 and still depend on Google Drive for all working documents are there. But none of them beats the speed, stability and Dropbox facilities.
The LAN Sync is one of the features I like in Dropbox – do not understand why competitors have not copied this functionality. If you own more than one computer, you do not need to download all changes to files over the Internet: Dropbox pulls information from the local network machines, which is obviously much faster and prevents the connection is congested.
Dropbox is faster because it has a more efficient synchronization technology: When you change part of a file, only that portion is sent to the servers. The competitors, the entire file is returned, which can take much longer. This difference is most important for those working with giant files as containers of encrypted partitions and virtual machine disks: a synchronization that could take hours is done in a few seconds or minutes.
In addition, the times were not rare that needed to restart the engine in the middle of synchronizing a large file. While using Google Drive or onedrive, uploading started again from scratch. Dropbox believes that part of the file has already been sent and is still rising just the missing data. Considering the average Brazilian, my upload is relatively fast (30MB / s) then the waste of time is not as serious, but still exists.
Finally, Dropbox synchronization client supports symbolic links, which allows me to synchronize folders located anywhere in the computer; I do not have to throw everything in the service folder. Google Drive and onedrive simply ignore symbolic links and have no function to include files outside the dedicated folder.
Take care of my files
I do not remember any failure synchronization record in Dropbox, different from my most recent experience with Google Drive (in the last days, I migrated my 800 GB of Dropbox files to take advantage of a promotion 1TB for two years I won Google).
The Google Photos app, required to automatically back up photos on your computer, failed to send some images, without displaying specific error messages or instructions on how I could fix the synchronization problem. In addition, he was caught while trying to synchronize more than 214,000 photos (I do not own).
The Google Drive sync for some strange reason, tends to duplicate files and folders. I just found out that this happened when Google warned me that I was using more than 90% of my share (1,027 GB 1,141 GB), which was kind of unlikely, since my files did not reach 900 GB in Dropbox. Judging by the reports that I received on Twitter, I do not seem to be an isolated case.
I did not face problems when sending files to onedrive only access them after they have been sent. large files (over 1 GB) that are infrequently accessed were basically inaccessible in my onedrive account – when trying to download them, the server took several minutes to process the transfer, or did not even begin the download.
As the onedrive failure occurred in all months that have used the service, the problem was not temporary. My suspicion is that, to save costs, Microsoft keeps the files accessed less in cold storage. Competitors, including Dropbox, should adopt the same scheme (is waste of money keeping data infrequently accessed in fast and expensive servers), but do not generate this inconvenience to the end user.
Another highlight of Dropbox is the file versioning. When you change a file, previous versions are kept in Dropbox’s servers for 30 days, which can save lives if you have overwritten an important file by mistake (after this happened to me, I started to give more value to this function). Limited onedrive only has versioning in Office documents, while the Google Drive “jumped” versions with me, or worse, doubled the file and put both versions in the same folder.
If you trust your data to a cloud service, the least that is expected is that he take good care of your files. synchronization failures, inaccessible files, versioning problems and duplication of data do not match it.
The positive side of independence
Dropbox is the largest independent service we have. This is bad if you consider that Google, Apple and Microsoft are not required to profit from their cloud platforms: they can accept some loss to offer more attractive storage services and compensate for losses with other lucrative areas such as advertising, software or sales smartphones. Dropbox only works with cloud storage, then you need to make a profit in its sole operating area not to close the doors.
But this ends up being good. Dropbox is the service that works best on all platforms: no matter if you use Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS or Windows Phone, applications are equally good at all of them. You can not say the same of Google Drive, let alone iCloud Drive. The onedrive is more balanced, but also prioritizes some platforms in release features – still can not automatically back up photos on Mac, for example. Dropbox is more democratic, just for not being linked to any ecosystem.
It also transmits and stores your files encrypted way (AES-256) hindering or preventing a possible invasion of servers results in leakage of files, for example. Encryption also makes it more costly to analyze user data for commercial purposes – the technology giants like Google, make money not only from subscriptions, but also with user information, and offer unlimited free storage from Google Photos it is not a simple gesture of kindness.
Of course, Dropbox is not perfect. It may not be the best option for everyone, especially for those who are faithful to any ecosystem. Among the main genre services, Dropbox is the least attractive in terms of free space, offering the same 2 GB offering eight years ago. And the CEO Drew Houston already sent word that does not fight for price: it was the last to offer plan 1TB for $9.99 and nor was undaunted by the failed offer unlimited of onedrive.
But Dropbox is still the service that, after all these years, even with competition from technology giants, can be the best at doing what needs doing: synchronize files in the cloud. With 500 million users and the position of leader in the corporate market, with 24% of market share, they still do not seem to have despaired with rivals.
I was quite annoyed with Dropbox after the news that they were discontinuing the Mailbox and the Carousel, two applications that liked much. But then again, if the goal of the company is really “focus on the core product,” as they claim to be, I believe that all is well, judging by the good work they are doing.
From what I have observed, the companies that work in a single product tend to offer the best service. So it is with Spotify. So it is with Evernote. And, apparently, it is so with Dropbox.