Being perhaps the leading cloud storage solution for personal use, it's likely you're already familiar with the Dropbox brand. It’s a classic cloud-based storage system which allows users to remotely host files on the Dropbox servers to be accessed from any computer or mobile device. Along with that basic functionality, Dropbox has continued to add additional helpful features that begin to expand the Dropbox service beyond a mere digital locker. But Dropbox isn’t stopping there. They have big plans in store and a bright future on the horizon.
Two years ago, Dropbox had a user base of 1 million people. And now, it has grown to a staggering 25 million users with 200 million files being saved each day. But CEO Drew Houston believes this is only the beginnings of a major online enterprise which will appeal to an extremely broad customer base. He's looking to expand beyond what we typically associate with a cloud storage service (desktop, phone, laptop, tablet). Companies as diverse as cameras, TVs and even cars are approaching Dropbox to build in functionality that will sync with the site. Camera sync with Dropbox could mean instantly uploading your photos from an important event to your Dropbox folder to share with friends or to securely store them on a remote sever.
Say you're out camping and spent the week taking amazing photos, but on the last day of the trip happened to drop your camera in the river! If the files are also stored on the Dropbox site, there is no cause for concern over lost images (although your camera might not be in the best working order). A television sync would be great too. It would be great to record a TV show and instantly load it onto the Dropbox site immediately when it's finished. That way, you can go over to your friends house who doesn't have cable and rewatch the show togehter on their Dropbox-enabled TV. Or stream photos or videos from Dropbox directly to your TV. Finally, imagine driving in your car synced with Dropbox as it streams music directly to your stereo or driving directions to help you navigate to your destination.
Dropbox is already facing some stiff competition in the cloud-storage marketplace including Apple’s MobileMe/iDisk features. Where Dropbox excels, however, is in its unique safety net feature which keeps a one-month history of your work so you can undo changes or deleted files. But there is one feature we find lacking on both Dropbox and most of its competitors. We would like to see a browser-side app that would allow us to edit content directly from the Dropbox cloud such as word documents or photos. After implementing that feature, the potential for using Dropbox as a means of communicating and collaborating online would increase drastically, especially with the built in social networking features to easily post something you upload to your Facebook or Twitter..
At any rate, we’re very excited to hear about Dropbox’s ambitious goal to hit 2.5 billion users. We’re loving the functionality and clean interface Dropbox provides but we’re looking forward to the future of cloud-based sharing and its largely untapped potential.