Dropbox LogoDropbox is one of those services that many of us rely on heavily. It’s been a key part of my workflow for many years, and one of the features that I like about Dropbox was its public folder setup. You could throw a file in there, easily get a link, and share it. It’s a convenient way to share files, especially for one-off situations.

As Dropbox grew and matured, users gained the ability to get a sharing link for any file, which made the public folder slightly less necessary. What this new feature lacked, that the public folder has, is the ability to serve that content natively in the browser. HTML would render, images could be included in a page, and so on. It was, actually, a web host.

And I’m sure people abused the heck out of it. I’ve seen whole websites shared there. I’m sure files that probably shouldn’t be shared are there. Like I said, free web hosting. To their credit, Dropbox would turn some shares off if the bandwidth got too high, but it still was probably spending a large amount of money on bandwidth for shared, public items.

Last week, Dropbox started letting users know it was doing away, once and for all, with the public folder. Accounts created after 2012 never really had the public folder, so this is mostly affecting long-time, legacy users.

Free users will see their access to the public folder go away in March of 2017,  for pro users, it will end in September. Here’s a small snip the website note posted last week:

Dropbox Basic (free) users: Beginning March 15, 2017, the Public folder will be converted into a standard Dropbox folder that’s private to your account. This transition will occur automatically. After the transition, when someone visits an existing Public folder link, they’ll see an error page. If you want to share any Public folder content again, you’ll need to use any of our other sharing methods. Learn more.

With the new sharing links, users don’t need a public folder, any file can be shared via link. And as a bonus, Dropbox will probably save some decent money on bandwidth for all the free sharing they were doing.

To celebrate the end of this era, here’s a direct link to an image shared in my Dropbox public folder. It’s a photo of the city of Cardiff, Wales, taken from my favorite bench on the Cardiff barrage. Enjoy, and thanks, Dropbox, for a great service!

DropboxI love Dropbox. I’ve used it for years and thanks for various referrals, promotions and codes, I’ve managed to get up my Dropbox up to about 25GB of space, of which I use a large amount  every month. I sync data from apps like 1Password and Transmit.

No one else has managed to make syncing and sharing documents in the cloud as easy as Dropbox, and in the last few months, when they added automatic screenshot uploading and pasting a URL to my clipboard, it became an essential piece of my workflow every day.

One area that always stuck out, however, was their pro plan. You could get 100GB of space for $9.99 USD per month. Not the worst deal, but when Google changed their pricing and made 100GB $1.99 USD, $10 for 100GB didn’t look as appealing.

Last week, Dropbox revamped their pro plan and is now offering a staggering 1TB of data for $9.99 a month, matching Google’s price.

Besides the extra space, new features include:

With Dropbox Pro, you get an extra layer of control. Set passwords and expirations for shared links, and manage permissions for shared folders. Plus with Pro, you can delete your Dropbox folder from any lost or stolen device.

I love the idea of Dropbox storing a terabyte of data for me, and having access to it anywhere in the world I am.

My biggest question is can I selectively sync what is on each of my devices? My Macbook Pro only has 256GB of SSD storage with an extra 64GB microSD card in a Nifty MiniDrive, and trying to sync any amount of data would quickly fill my drive.

Question answered!

I checked in the preferences area of Dropbox and you can indeed select what folders are synced to a particular machine. That’s super helpful. Here’s what that screen looks like:

Screenshot 2014-09-02 11.42.32

Overall, it’s a bold move by Dropbox to keep up with the big players like Google and Amazon.

Here’s a table I’ve kept with all the big players and their storage plans with the monthly cost associated for each.

Provider2GB5GB10GB15GB20GB50GB100GB1TB
Google DriveFREE$1.99$9.99
Barracuda CopyFREE
DropboxFREE $9.99
Apple iCloudFREE$1.66$3.33$8.33
Box.netFREE$5.00$15
Microsoft SkyDriveFREE$2.08$4.16
SpiderOakFREE$10.00
SugarSync$7.49$9.99$55.00

Barracuda Networks is a company most of us in the tech industry have heard of. In case you haven’t, here’s a bit about them:

Barracuda Networks, Inc. offers industry-leading solutions designed to solve mainstream IT problems – efficiently and cost effectively – while maintaining a level of customer support and satisfaction second to none. Our products span three distinct markets, including: 1) content security, 2) networking and application delivery, as well as 3) data storage, protection and disaster recovery.

They’ve launched a new cloud storage service called Copy, which is similar to existing programs from Dropbox, Box and Google, which I’ve talked about here.

Copy screenshotCopy is marketing itself as more secure and protected than other cloud services, since they can leverage the security background and experience of Barracuda. Given the recent issues with Dropbox and larger issues like Heartbleed, it’s an interesting marketing angle.

Copy gives you 15GB of free storage to start with, which is well above the 2GB you get with Dropbox.

The service itself runs via the web, Mac app, Windows app, iOS, Android and Linux.

On my Mac, Copy works just like Dropbox with a folder I can install and drag files to and from. Syncing happens quickly and the files and their transit are encrypted using AES256.

Copy ScreenshotLike other services, you can right-click on an item and get sharing and public links for items, which is handy. We’re always sharing files, screenshots and more in the office using a myriad of different services. I didn’t see a feature like Dropbox’s “automatically be the place for screenshots and put the public link in your clipboard,” it’s not that big a deal to find the file and right-click to get the link.

One feature I think is interesting is if you are sharing a large file with multiple people, you can split the size “hit” with each user. If you’re sharing a 1GB file with someone on Dropbox, you both download it and are charged with 1GB worth of space. Copy lets you split that storage hit so the 1GB file you are sharing with 4 people only counts as 250MB towards each person’s quota.

So where does Copy make its money? They’re banking again on the Barracuda name and the hope that IT organizations will see the security experience Barracuda has and let it be an approved cloud sharing service. Teams can be as small as 5 people (using the free accounts) all the way up to 30 users for $2,697 per year, total. As of last fall’s prices, those same 30 users would cost $3,920 at Dropbox and $5,400 at Box.

You can sign up for Copy and try it out using this link and you’ll get an additional 5GB of storage once you install their app, and I’ll get some extra storage as well.

Provider2GB5GB10GB15GB20GB50GB100GB1TB
Google DriveFREE$1.99$9.99
Barracuda CopyFREE
DropboxFREE$9.99
Apple iCloudFREE$1.66$3.33$8.33
Box.netFREE$5.00$15
Microsoft SkyDriveFREE$2.08$4.16
SpiderOakFREE$10.00
SugarSync$7.49$9.99$55.00