My Favorite Products: Dropbox

Over the next few months I plan to share with you specific products and services that help me be more productive. I prefer simple, elegant solutions to complex products bogged down by every feature imaginable.

It wasn’t long ago that the task of moving files from one computer to another required a CD burner, flash drive, or emailing them to yourself. If you were savvy, maybe you shared files over a network. Today that scenario is made more complicated with the proliferation of smart phones and tablets that often do not share the same file structure or network protocols.

I have a PC at home and another at work along with a smartphone and tablet. There are times when I want to access a spreadsheet from my tablet that I created on my work PC. Or maybe I have pictures on my home PC that I’d like to show a friend from my smartphone.

Dropbox is the product that makes it happen.

There are a number of programs that provide similar functionality, but I’ve not discovered one yet that provides a more elegant and simple solution across all my devices.

When I installed Dropbox, it created a folder on my desktop. Anything I save to that folder gets synchronized to my work PC as well as my smartphone and tablet. It also saves those files to the Dropbox website where I can access them from any browser. And because my files are saved to the servers at Dropbox, I have created an effective offsite backup of those files.

Dropbox folders on my Windows 7 PC Dropbox folders on my smartphone

The last feature I want to mention is public sharing. Say I create a slideshow I want to share with my brother. Instead of attaching a large file to an email, all I have to do is save the file to my public folder on Dropbox. When I right-click on the file, Dropbox creates a public URL which I share with my brother who can then download at his convenience.

Dropbox works on Windows, Mac or Linux. It also has mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry. Dropbox provides 2 GB of storage space for free. Additional plans are available for those who require more storage starting at $9.99/month for 50 GB.

There are few products I refer to as indispensable, but Dropbox is one of them. Give it a try, and I’ll bet you’ll wonder how you got by without it.

What's your favorite file sync product?