Dropbox Is Versatile Tool for Sharing Large Files Via the Cloud

August 17, 2013

Over a year ago, I wrote Dropbox Cloud Storage Makes Sharing Large Files Easy and I wanted to follow up now that I’ve had more experience using the service. Let’s get the very important question out of the way first. Yes, you can get Dropbox for free and the free plan includes 2 GB of storage in the cloud. There are ways to increase the storage space for free, including referring friends to the service. Yes, the links I’ve provided are referral links that earn me an extra .5GB for each of you that sign up. There are also paid plans that increase the space available. As of now, I’ve not had a need for more than the free space.
Dropbox Free Cloud Storage
Now let’s go over the many ways you can use it. First, you can install software (or an app) for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android (including Kindle Fire tablets) and Blackberry. So about the only platform not supported are Windows phones and Windows RT tablets. I have personally installed the Windows software on my desktop and the Android version on my phone.

Dropbox creates a folder on your hard drive (at least with the Windows version I’ve used) where all “shared” files are stored. Within the main folder, you can create other folders just as in any other folder in Windows. Part of the power of Dropbox is that you can specify who has access to each folder. As an example, I have one folder where I put all files I want to send to a print shop to be output. I have designated a person in the print shop who has access to the folder and any files put into that folder by either of us will automatically be transferred to Dropbox on the other user’s computer. This means I just have to send a quick e-mail explaining how I want a file printed and most of time the file will be on their system before they even get the e-mail.

There are other folders connected with friends and other business associates with whom I want to share files. This makes it very easy to share large files with others and it can be done securely because of the ability to apply permissions to each folder.

Until recently I hadn’t used Dropbox much on my smartphone other than simply having the app installed. About ten days ago I wrote Convert a Smartphone Into a Camcorder about how future Cave Creek Geek videos would be shot with my smartphone. One of the issues this created was how to get the raw video files from my phone to my computer and Dropbox came to the rescue. One of the settings in the mobile app is to automatically share all of the photos and videos you take via Dropbox. No, it does NOT share them with the whole world!

Some of you may be concerned about having all of this data being sent from your phone. Dropbox has also thought of that and has a setting that will only transfer the photos and videos via a WiFi connection. This way you won’t have to worry about creating extra charges on your phone’s data plan. Because of the large size of video files, it can take several minutes before the phone and computer are in sync, but it is much easier than trying to hook up a USB cable to pull the data off of the phone. And best of all, it just happens automatically!

What I’ve found in the last year is that Dropbox is an absolutely essential utility for me and it just magically works. Many of you are probably already using it and I encourage you to share your usage stories in a comment on the blog. If you aren’t already using it, get to the Dropbox Web site and get started!

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