A Worthy Competitor To Dropbox?

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You'll be aware, if you're a frequent visitor to this site, that I'm a huge fan of Dropbox, the online file sharing/sync service.  Copy something to your Dropbox folder on your PC, and it instantly gets synced to the cloud, and also copied to any other computers which are linked to your account and on which you've installed the Dropbox client app.  You can sign up for a free account at www.dropbox.com, and that gets you 2 GB.  Or do it via my personal referrer link at https://www.getdropbox.com/referrals/NTYxNjE2Mzk and we both get an extra quarter-gig of free space.

Much as I love Dropbox, someone mentioned to me the other day that it's really aimed at the consumer and home user, and isn't really business-oriented enough.  And then he went on to mention www.box.net, which he claimed was more business-oriented.  I can see what he means.  Like Dropbox, you can sign up for a free account, and sync your files to the cloud and to other computers.  There are client apps for Android, Windows and iPad, with Mac coming soon. 

But it's the business features which set it apart.  Primarily, the control panel from which the company's administrators can set up new box.net accounts, manage quotas, set the security options, and generally manage everything.  Which means that your company can have its staff store all their documents online, without the need for an in-house file server, and still have excellent control.   Not bad, especially as it's only $15 per user per month, for 500 GB of storage.

But while $15 isn't expensive, it's still not free, so I guess it won't appeal to you, dear reader of Gizmo's.  Until I tell you that, if you sign up with www.box.net for a personal account, you get 5 GB of space for free.  It may not be 500, but it's still more than twice as much as Dropbox currently gives.  So if you want to explore the world of cloud-based file storage, box.net is definitely one to add to your shortlist.

Plus, unlike Dropbox, box.net lets you choose friendly URLs when you're sharing files with friends or colleagues.  So it's now easy to make any document, photo etc that's stored in your box.net account available to others via a simple URL.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

"Copy something to your Dropbox folder on your PC, and it instantly gets synced to the cloud, and also copied to any other computers which are linked to your account and on which you've installed the Dropbox client app."

Will it preserve a directory tree?

I am doing some study and find it very frustrating that professors pass files to students via "Blackboard". Some build directory trees with multiple files in "Blackboard". I am pretty sure that they have to build them piecewise and can not copy from their local drive. Then, the files have to be downloaded one-by-one, and the directory tree is not preserved. These are not tech professors, but they get little to no technical help from other departments or the uni in general (go figure). If someone at the uni (many unis) would make a procedural instruction sheet for a good service, it might save instructors and students all kinds of time and frustration (misplaced files). I'll try this where I am; though, I think it would ultimately require some IT help staff to back it up with some live instruction from time to time.

If the directory tree is a standard Windows folder, then Dropbox will work just fine. However, the structure of a directory tree in Bb only exists within Bb itself. So unless Dropbox makes a special add-on to integrate with Bb, I think the answer is unfortunately no.

Tip:
If you login to your free Box account via their app for iPhone or iPad before Feb 15 2014, you get 50GB (in total) for life!