Paul McAleer

Dropbox and iCloud

Paul McAleer

News came out that Dropbox passed on an Apple acquisition, and naturally discussions came up on the web about iCloud versus Dropbox. These two products do similar things, sure, but from where I sit Dropbox needs to do some serious reinvention.

Consider this. Assuming one has a computer capable of working with both iCloud (or another, yet-to-be-created invisible cloud storage thing) and Dropbox and has never used one before, here are the steps to make a document in Pages sync everywhere.

Dropbox:

  1. Create a Dropbox account.
  2. Download Dropbox.
  3. Install Dropbox.
  4. Optional: 2 & 3 as above for each computer or device one wishes to access the document(s) on.
  5. Open Pages.
  6. Create an awesome document.
  7. Save it to the Dropbox folder.

iCloud:

  1. Open Pages.
  2. Create an awesome document.
  3. Save it.

Yeah, the steps are fewer and that’s a big part of it. The other key part? No file nor folder interaction. No file system interaction.

I definitely think Dropbox has a life ahead of it, but in time it’s going to have to be marketed towards people using older technologies. It puts the file system in one’s face, and I’d imagine that most people don’t care about file systems; they just want to access their stuff.

Dropbox could rework their software integration and make it lower-level as iCloud; in fact, I don’t think that’s a bad idea. Then they could even pitch themselves as a platform-agnostic alternative to iCloud.

Something to think about.