If you hadn't noticed, Dropbox and Google Drive have been having a friendly rivalry ever since the latter popped up on Android. The latest update to the Dropbox app (2.2) makes good on the additional photo features they've been adding over the last year by revamping the user interface, especially for the photos and videos automatically updated to your cloud storage drive. The UI is now more of a gallery than a bare-bones file browser, thanks to the new Photos tab.
Several weeks ago, Dropbox suffered a small security breach that gave wrong-doers access to a few unlucky users' email addresses. On the good side, it also brought the vulnerability to the Dropbox staff's attention. Since then, they've been working hard to beef up security, and today, they introduced two-step verification.
Much like Google's two-factor authentication, once enabled this requires you to login using two different sets of verification: your password and a unique identifier sent in either a text message or generated locally on the device using the authenticator app (which you have the option to get via QR during the set up process).
When Google first announced Google Drive, the company made waves, if not by being better than Dropbox, then at least by being cheaper. 100GB of storage on Google Drive was $4.99 a month to Dropbox's $19.99. Well, today Dropbox is getting closer to being competitive with Google by increasing the amount of storage for its Pro users.
From Dropbox's blog entry on the subject:
Google Drive just saw its first update since back in April when it shed the Docs nametag. The update is relatively minor, but still brings some worthwhile enhancements and tweaks:
- Quickly find files that have been recently opened, edited or shared with you
- Upload/Download all file types to/from your Google Drive
- Selecting contacts to share with is easier
- Faster navigation of folders when syncing in the background
- Choose text alignment in the documents editor
Frequent users of the Drive app will surely take pleasure in the faster navigation while sync is in progress, as the app could get quite sluggish at times; the ability to upload all file types is definitely a welcome improvement and one more step in Google's quest to take out cloud storage heavyweight Dropbox.
Although it isn't a new feature, one of Samsung's software perks with the Galaxy S3 is the inclusion of 48 GB of free space in a Dropbox account, an offer that lasts two years. Unfortunately, according to an official Dropbox support page, some U.S. users won't have the option to take advantage of this free space.
AT&T and Verizon have chosen to opt out of this promotion, though their reasoning is unclear.
Alright, control freaks (otherwise known as "my people"), this one's for you. FolderSync is a fantastic little app we've just discovered that lets users sync folders between local storage and a number of online storage services. The app supports one- or two-way sync and provides a host of settings to tweak the app to all your sync needs.
Sync can be done on a schedule or when a folder changes.
The world of the future has some pretty great products to keep productive. Things like Google Calendar, Dropbox, Evernote, and a myriad of other services all aim to make our lives easier and more cloud-centric. Trouble is that these services are all separate. When a group you're working with adds a new event to a Google Calendar, adds some relevant files to Dropbox, and scribbles some notes in Evernote, that's three different sites you need to track.
Tablets have, historically, been less-than-ideal for productivity. Part of the problem is that developers are still trying to catch up to the new world of connected devices. One solution, as CloudOn demonstrates, is to bring together the best options from various platforms and merge them into a fluid product. CloudOn lets you use what appears to be remote access to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint from an Android tablet.
The app might be best utilized if you have a connected keyboard and mouse at times, as the UI is still very much the Windows-style.
A long time ago (read: about 4 years), in a galaxy far, far away (read: Silicon Valley), a guy named Drew Houston started a little company called Dropbox. After securing seed funding from Y Combinator, Dropbox officially launched in 2008 at the TechCrunch50. To say nothing of the complexities of implementation, the idea was simple: put your files in one place, access them anywhere. And apparently, the idea was also a really good one: as of October last year, Dropbox had over 50 million users, doubling from a figure of 25 million in April.
Google Drive is real, and it's out, and I've been playing with it. If you haven't heard, Drive is Google's cloud storage offering. You get 5 GB free with an option to buy more.
You're going to hear two phrases over and over again in this hands on, so you'd better get used to them now: get ready to see "like Dropbox" and "like Google Docs" a lot.
Google Docs, by the way? Gone.