Dropbox Finally Gets Affordable — and Competitive
When people come to me looking for a deal on cloud storage, I tell them, “Do your own research! I’m busy!” No, I usually point them to Bitcasa, Box, Google Drive, or even Microsoft’s OneDrive — all of which offer a decent helping of free space and affordable plans for those who need more.
But Dropbox? It’s arguably the best-known and most popular cloud service, but the company has stubbornly refused to compete on price. If you want more than the paltry 2GB afforded freebie-account holders, be prepared to pay $9.99 per month for just 100GB of space. And if you want 500GB, the price is a staggering $500 annually.
In other words: I want to love you, Dropbox, but I can’t afford to.
Or maybe I can. Yesterday, the service made a huge change: The $9.99/month Pro plan now includes one terabyte (1TB) of storage, a tenfold increase, plus a bunch of new features. Welcome to the party, Dropbox!
For the uninitiated, Dropbox makes simple work of syncing files and folders across all your devices (computers, tablets, smartphones, etc.). It’s also a popular option for sharing files with others. And check out the Dropbox Channel on popular Web-automation service IFTTT, which lets you do all kinds of cool things. (Example: Voice notes! Call IFTTT voicemail and it will automatically transcribe your message into a text file in your Dropbox account.)
Ah, but is Dropbox now truly competitive? Yes and no. Google Drive charges the same ($9.99/month) for 1TB, but also offers cheaper plans for users who don’t need that much space. Likewise, Microsoft (which offers a respectable 15GB at no charge) has a 100GB plan that’s just $1.99 per month. And my preferred cloud provider, Bitcasa, gives you 1TB for $10 monthly, but offers a price break if you prepay for a year ($99).
Of course, you have to look at more than just price. Dropbox also introduced some notable new features, including a password option for the linked files/folders you share, an expiration option for shared links, and remote wipe, which lets you delete any Dropbox files from a lost or stolen device.
One thing that, alas, hasn’t changed: To sync/share/upload desktop files and folders, you still have to drag them into designated Dropbox “buckets.” So, for example, if I want to sync all my Word documents to my Dropbox account, I have to move them to my Dropbox folder. Then I have to remember to use that folder while I’m working in Word (i.e., opening documents and saving new ones). It’s a hassle. I prefer the way Bitcasa and SugarSync operate, allowing you to sync any folder.
Even so, I’m happy to see Dropbox finally taking steps to compete in the cutthroat online-storage space. Now, when people come to me asking for a cloud solution, I can tell them, “Don’t you read my blog?!”