Dropbox Update, Is It Worth It?

If you’re like me and are a Dropbox Plus user then you have probably received a notification recently that Dropbox is both increasing the cost and increasing the functionality of it’s service.

The pitch is that Dropbox is;

  • Doubling it’s storage (up to 2 TB now),
  • Introducing ‘SmartSync’ and,
  • Adding the ability to rollback your information for up to 30 days in case of any accidents.

These new features come in a shiny new wrapper too; a Dropbox desktop app.

The cost? $26.88 CAD a year added onto my Dropbox Plus bill.

So, let’s take a look and see if the value from these new features justifies the new price tag.

Dropbox On Your Desktop

Dropbox has introduced a desktop application as part of these new offerings. Their claim is that this new app is a single workspace which will let their users better organize their content, connect their various platforms, and bring people together.

The reality is that most of what the desktop app is bringing to the table is redundant.

The desktop app will allow you to create, organize, and share documents on Google Docs and Office 365 directly from within Dropbox. I don’t think this really changes anything though as this centralization doesn’t change the way we engage with or use either those cloud-based services or the content hosted on those services. Dropbox isn’t presenting us a better word processor than Google Docs or better spreadsheet software than Excel.

Dropbox just wants you to use a different door to get into the same room.

The desktop app also has integration with Zoom and Slack. The problem is this integration also just asks you to use a different door  to get into a room when nothing in that room is any different than before. This extent of this integration is that you can join Zoom and you can send Slack messages from within the Dropbox desktop app…two things which save us a few clicks and fewer seconds of our time over our normal workflow when using those two services.

Double Trouble

Dropbox is doubling it’s storage capacity on the Plus plan for individual users from 1 TB to 2 TB.

This is obviously a significant change, but one which might not change much of anything for many people. I never came anywhere close to using 1 TB of storage previously so the value of this change is really clear; if you needed the space it’s great value, if you didn’t need the space nothing is likely to change for you.

Smarter Syncing

Dropbox’s updated syncing system, SmartSync, is the best of the new features in my opinion. On the surface it doesn’t appear to change much; it’s still a syncing utility which allows you to take your locally-stored files and move them onto the cloud. Dig a little deeper though and you’ll see that you can migrate all your files to the cloud but still access them locally and even when offline.

Previously, Selective Sync allowed you to choose which files and folders would be synced to your hard drive, if you didn’t sync them you couldn’t access them. With Smart Sync you can access anything and everything on Dropbox without storing them on your hard drive.

This is the best new feature of Dropbox and one that might be worth paying a little more for.

And Much More…

Here is a list of some of the other changes coming to Dropbox.

Running Scared

Ultimately I think these changes to Dropbox are a reaction to the fact that Dropbox is losing it’s value proposition in the space. It is no longer the only service that provides cloud-based storage and it needs to diversify it’s offerings to remain competitive.

I don’t believe any of these changes individually or together justify the new price point. That’s just for me and the way I use Dropbox though, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,

Have fun storming the castle!

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