Dropbox was never my favorite cloud storage service. In fact, I never even used it until 2013. My preferred cloud storage services were SkyDrive (now known as OneDrive) and Google Drive. I have always prefered everything Microsoft/Google as I didn’t want to depend upon different companies for different products. My mistake!
Back then, I relied a lot on Google — Gmail (for email), Google Calendar (for calendar), Google Notebook (for note-taking), Google Tasks (for task management), Google Drive (for cloud storage), and Google Reader (for news reading).
And, one fine day, I realized that it’s not a good idea to rely on only one brand for “all things”. How? Because Google discontinued Google Notebook and Google Reader (R.I.P.). And Google Tasks too is on the verge of discontinuation as they are no longer updating that service. In fact, they discontinued a lot of nice Google products.
Today, I don’t care about how many brands I’m relying on. Instead, I just try to make sure that they offer the best product in their category. So, I replaced Google Calendar with Sunrise, Google Notebook with Evernote, Google Tasks with Todoist, Google Drive with Dropbox, and Google Reader with Feedly.
All the above companies excel at what they are doing — because it’s their bread and butter. Today, I just wanted to share with you 11 reasons why I love Dropbox.
Note: I’ve compared Dropbox with Google Drive and OneDrive wherever possible as they were my preferred cloud storage services before. And hey… Dropbox didn’t pay me to write this post. :D
1. User Interface (UI)
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci
It appears like Dropbox know it better than their competitors. It has the best user interface among all other cloud storage services. There are no unwanted features or buttons to confuse you. Just “folders” that really looks like folders and it works!
2. Preview Files
You can view a variety of files and documents inside Dropbox without having to download them. For example, you can view PDFs, text document, php files (with PHP syntax highlighting), images, etc. on Dropbox web. Again, a lot of files — like images, music, movies, presentations and documents — are viewable on a mobile device as well.
3. Add Comments
Do you know that you can now add comments on your Dropbox files? It’s a feature that’s unique to Dropbox and is now free for all users. Just open a file on Dropbox and add the comments on the sidebar. You can even @mention someone to notify them about a change or something.
Note: You can add a description to files or folders on Google Drive by accessing its details (right-click a file and click “View details”.
4. Version History
Version history is perhaps one of my favorite Dropbox features as it’s totally different from Google Drive or OneDrive. If you try to add a file to OneDrive that already exists then it will ask whether to replace it or keep both versions . If you decide to keep both versions then it will create a lot of extra files over time.
And if you do the same on Google Drive then it will simply create both versions of that file (without even asking us) which again is not desirable.
Now if you add a file that already exists in Dropbox then it will simply replace the old file with the new file. And you can easily restore the old version by checking the “Version history” (right-click any file to view its version history) of that file. Older versions of all files will be deleted after 30 days unless you are a paid user.
Note: You can right-click a file on Google Drive as well to manage its versions (up to 100 versions). So, you can upload the new version manually and Google Drive will replace the old version and keeps the old version for up to 30 days.
5. Cross-platform Support
Dropbox works like magic on all platforms. And it’s virtually available on all platforms. There’s an official Dropbox for Windows (desktop and Windows 8 app), Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Kindle. No other cloud storage service offers this cross-platform support.
6. One-Click Sharing
Dropbox’s sharing feature is the best among all its peers. For instance, on Google Drive or OneDrive you will be asked to select the visibility criteria before you can copy the public URL. On Dropbox, you can get the shareable URL with one-click. You can right-click any file/folder and click “Share…” to get its public URL. It’s that simple!
7. Shared Links
On Dropbox, there’s a “Links” button on the sidebar and it shows all the files that you are sharing with others. So, you can change the visibility options or revoke access to a file with one-click.
8. Brand “Dropbox”
Today, Dropbox is like a synonym for cloud storage. I love Dropbox for its elegance and because of the fact that it works. And it clearly has a first mover advantage and which is why it’s everyone’s favorite cloud storage service.
9. Restore Deleted Files
When you delete a file on Google Drive or OneDrive it simply goes to the Trash (known as Recycle Bin on OneDrive) and you can restore it the way you do on a PC or a Mac. However, there’s no Trash folder on Dropbox. When you delete a file on Dropbox it’s simply marked for deletion and is removed from all the visible folders.
The file remains in that state for 30 days and after that it’s permanently deleted. It also means that all your deleted files are recoverable for up to 30 days. You can go to Events to recover a file that was deleted recently or or can click the trash icon on the top to see all deleted files in a folder.
10. 3rd-party App Integration
Dropbox integrates with a ton of third-party applications. Of course, almost all other cloud storage services also integrates nicely with other apps but the list is longer for Dropbox. For instance, Dropbox is fully-integrated with Microsoft Office and now we can open files stored in Dropbox directly from Office and can even save changes directly back to Dropbox.
11. Save To My Dropbox
When someone shares a file with you on Dropbox then you save that file in two ways. You can either download a copy to your computer or can save the file directly to Dropbox without having to download it (see Screenshot).
You can do the same on OneDrive as well but it’s not as friendly as it is on Dropbox. On Google Drive, if someone is exclusively sharing a folder or a file by inviting you then you can click the “Add to My Drive” button to save a copy of that file in your Google Drive.
But to my surprise, if it’s a public URL then there’s no option to save it to our Google Drive. If I’m wrong then that exactly is the reason why they say “Dropbox is simple!”.
I’ve used Dropbox for web to compose this blog post as I live in a web browser. So, there’s a good chance that I might have missed a mobile-only feature (or even an interesting desktop feature). If so, please let me know as a comment below and if it’s interesting I’ll personally review it and add it to the above list.
So, which is your favorite cloud storage service and why?