What is Dropbox?

[The following is excerpted from Wikipedia]
Dropbox is a web-based file hosting service operated by Dropbox, Inc. which uses cloud computing to enable users to store and share files and folders with others across the Internet using file synchronization. It was founded in 2007 by MIT graduates Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi.

Drew Houston was inspired to create Dropbox out of his frustrations with forgetting his USB drive, and that existing services "suffered problems with Internet latency, large files, bugs, or just made me think too much." He began making something for himself, but then realized that it could benefit lots of people with the same problem.

The Dropbox client enables users to drop any file into a designated folder that is then synced with Dropbox's web service and to any other of the user's computers and devices with the Dropbox client. Users may also upload files manually through a web browser. Through these usages, it can be an alternative to couriering physical removable media, and other traditional forms of file transfer, such as FTP and e-mail attachments.

While Dropbox functions as a storage service, its focus is on synchronization and sharing. It supports revision history, so files deleted from the Dropbox folder may be recovered from any of the synced computers. Dropbox's version control also helps users know the history of a file they may be currently working on, enabling more than one person to edit and re-post files without complications of losing its previous form. The version history is limited to 30 days.

Dropbox uses Amazon's S3 storage system to store the files and SoftLayer Technologies for its backend infrastructure; though Houston has stated that Dropbox may switch to a different storage provider at some point in the future. It also uses SSL transfers for synchronization and stores the data via AES-256 encryption.

What are we going to do today?
  • I will give you an overview of several examples of how Dropbox is being used at ECC among colleagues.
  • I will tell you how you can get a free account.
  • I will tell you how to use Dropbox. Basic approach is to go back to your office/home computer and log back into Dropbox, and follow the simple steps to install Dropbox. Then give it a try!

Here's an informative video about how Dropbox works.