Free Web Tool Friday: Dropbox

Since this column is all about “cloud”-based web services, here’s on that epitomizes that: Dropbox. Dropbox is a free service that provides data storage in the cloud in such a seamless and intuitive way that you’ll almost forget that it’s a cloud service. When you install Dropbox (after watching the excellent introductory video) you’ll get a new folder nestled amongst the other folders on your computer. You can store anything you’d like (up to 2 gigabytes) for free, and you can use it like any other folder, even creating subfolders.

The difference here is that folder is then accessible anywhere you are – either from the Dropbox website, or on all your other computers. If you make a change on your laptop, Dropbox automatically updates that file on your other machines.

What’s going on under the hood is that Dropbox actually saves a copy on your hard drives and on the web. So you always have access to your files, even if you’re not logged on.

What I’m finding is that describing this is harder than actually using it. So give it a try, the first 2 gigs are free and there are paid versions where, say 100 gigs is less than $20 a year. I should also mention that there are persistent tech industry rumors that Google is going soon introduce something called “G-drive” which will be similar. But for now, Dropbox is the “it” service in this realm.


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