We’ve covered just about every online backup and file syncing tool going, from comprehensive, automated systems such as Carbonite (Macworld June 2009) to media-oriented applications such as Syncables (Macworld Autumn 2009). Now it’s Dropbox’s turn – the cross-platform tool that shines because of its simplicity.
Sign up for an account and install the Dropbox application. You’ll get a new folder in Finder called Dropbox. As long as you’re connected to the Internet, you can use this like any other folder on your system; adding files, creating and deleting directories, saving documents and so on. The difference is that the folder’s online – stored on the Dropbox servers. The free version gives you 2GB of space to play with – which makes it ideal for office documents, but less useful for big media files. The $9.99 (about £6) a month option buys you 50GB of secure and guaranteed storage.
Here’s real beauty of Dropbox. Once your files are online you can access them from anywhere with a web connection, on any computer. All you need is a web browser and your login details. Want to sync files between machines? No problem. You can install Dropbox on as many computers as you like – whether they’re running OS X, Windows or Linux – making your Dropbox folder accessible on all your machines. To sync and share your files, just drag them to Dropbox.
Still in beta, Dropbox is evolving. While we were reviewing the service, the site rolled out several new features – including an overhauled web interface, bulk file operations, keyboard shortcuts and file search. We think it’s well worth keeping an eye on.