dropbox_logo_2011.jpgCloud storage company Dropbox (news, site) has had a cult following through its development. Now that it's ready for primetime, what does it have to offer?

Drop-Off Points

Cloud storage is slowly becoming a force in the way knowledge workers and businesses use the web. With a fair field of players -- ranging from MemoPal to RackspaceCloud and AWS -- there are plenty of choices for the enterprise 2.0-era user.

Dropbox offers 2GB of online storage for free, with paid plans for 50 or 100GB. Users can upload and download files via a desktop client app, with mobile access via iPhone, Android, iPad and other devices. Stored files are encrypted to AES256 standard and connections are handled over SSL for security. 

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The Dropbox client is available for Windows, Mac and Linux

There is also a public folder for users to share files for general distribution or with clients. Multiple users can access and change what is stored with a log maintained to view activity -- ideal for collaboration on projects with lots of data or documentation.

Once files are stored, they can be updated automatically by updating only the parts of a file that have changed, not the whole -- potentially multi-gigabyte -- file.

Version 1.0 Benefits

If you have already been using Dropbox, you'll be wondering what the move to v1.0 includes. The good news is there is a faster client sync engine to keep data flowing, improved wizards and menus to make the process of that initial backup more logical. Among the minutiae are fixes for locked Excel and Word files and files with illegal names.

Perhaps the neatest feature is the history service that keeps a copy of your older files, even if you delete or change them, so you can go back in time and grab that file in its pristine state.

The Basic version of Dropbox is free for the 2GB, there is also a Pro 50 version for 50GB at US$ 9.99 a month and the Pro 100 version for US$ 19.99.