There was a time, not too long ago, when what is referred to as the ‘cloud storage wars’ was everywhere. Three of the largest cloud storage providers; Amazon, Google and Microsoft, battled to draw blood and gain dominance in the cloud storage market. This was done through attempts to undercut the prices of the competition. It was extremely big news at the time, (which, may I add, started to settle back in April of this year,) as users were being given access to drastically larger storage capacities at a fraction of the price.
Therefore, you will forgive my lack of enthusiasm at the news that Dropbox has now joined the fray.
Countless websites are portraying the news as the reinvention of the wheel. Most read along the same lines of: Sensational news, Dropbox announced a whopping change to their Pro storage package, now 1TB for just $9.99. Let us just break this down for a moment.
Formerly, Dropbox had three different Pro plans with 100GB at $9.99, 200GB at $19.99, and 500GB at $49.99 monthly. Which means that 1TB of storage for $10 a month is a 90% price reduction per gigabyte, and half the price for double the capacity of their largest package. I will agree that this does sound impressive, especially coupled with the snazzy new features that have been introduced. These include additional shared file settings such as a view-only option where recipients can only see but not edit files sent to them, expiration dates, and password protections on the files. Additionally, they have added a feature called “remote wipe”. This allows users to remotely remove files from their Dropbox account on lost or stolen devices, without having to delete them from the actual Dropbox servers. Now these all sound really great, and you will notice are all mostly security related. So why am I still unimpressed? Let me explain.
Firstly there are two components to the news, the price and the features. As it stands, Microsoft and Google, two of the ‘big three’ players of the storage wars, already offer 1TB of storage at that price. So I would have hoped for a little better from any latecomer to the party. Such as more storage for the same price. Alternatively, Dropbox could have maintained some of their former storage sizes at a reduced rate, such as 100GB for $1, and 500GB for $4.99 etc.
Now let’s take a look at the features. As I previously mentioned these are largely security focused and it is not hard to imagine why. Around the time the wars were in full swing, Dropbox was facing an entirely different battle with their security. Sharable links were subject to shocking security vulnerabilities, and sensitive information such as mortgage details were able to be accessed without the user’s permission. These new updates that Dropbox have launched seem to speak directly to the very issues Dropbox has been criticized for. While I certainly commend fixing what is broken, I am not sure this should be hailed as revolutionary. Yes, Dropbox is known for the simplicity of their service, but I feel that this news was a little too simple, and needs a little more to really deserve all this attention.