I am a big fan of file synchronization tools. For me, file sync’ing across my multiple devices not only makes my life easier but also serves to backup my data. But I have yet to find the perfect tool that handles all of the different scenarios I have for my data. And while I have had a Dropbox account for quite a while, I have rarely used it. It has a limited amount of space for free (2 gigs) and doesn’t provide simple synchronization between devices only (separate from their cloud storage space). I am currently using Microsoft Live Mesh as my main tool which allows me unlimited sync’ing between computers and also lets me use 5 gigs of cloud storage from my SkyDrive (not too bad). I use it mainly for the sync’ing (and backing up) of large amounts of files between computers. Where it fails, and where dropbox shines, is in its support for the various mobile device platforms. Mesh currently does not support any mobile device.
However Dropbox is currently testing a new feature which I am somewhat excited about. They are testing the capability to automatically upload photos and videos taken on mobile devices to a Dropbox folder. I currently am using Google+ for that (and it works well). However, things uploaded by Google+ only live on the Google+ servers. This great for posting to Google+. But it requires extra steps to get them onto my computer for manipulation, permanent storage and/or sharing to other services. With this new feature in Dropbox, I can automatically sync my pictures and videos to any machine I want. Simply put, its like having a wireless USB cable that continually dumps my photos/videos to a pre-specified folder, from anywhere in the world.
The one downside, 2 gig wasn’t enough for the 1080p videos I had on my phone. Fortunately Dropbox thought of that and was offering additional space for anyone willing to test the new feature. Basically I received 500 meg for trying it out (on first photo upload). I then received an additional 500 meg for every 500 meg I uploaded using the new feature (up to 4.5 gig). When my phone was done sync’ing, my Dropbox account had jumped from 2 gig to 7 gig. Now that’s not too bad for scratch space for my photos and videos. And who knows, if I start actively using it again for this purpose I may actually start using it for others. Good move Dropbox.
For those who want to participate, I think the deal is still on. You can go here to get the Android installers for this new test version. And if you don’t have an Android phone, they are testing out new versions of their desktop clients as well. These clients supposedly work with any camera or video device that you connect to your computer. You can find details here.