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Dropbox wants to replace your hard disk

Dropbox Platform

By Barry Collins

Posted on 10 Jul 2013 at 12:02

Dropbox has kicked off its first developer conference with the stated goal of replacing the hard disk.

The cloud-storage service is fighting for attention in an increasingly tough market, with Microsoft integrating SkyDrive tightly into Windows 8, Amazon recently launching its own consumer cloud storage service, and Google relying on Drive for its Chromebook devices.

Dropbox remains fiercely competitive, largely because of its cross-OS compatibility and speedy synchronisation, and now the company is planning to take the service to the next level with the launch of the Dropbox Platform.

The spiritual successor to the hard drive is what we’re launching

With up to 500 developers expected for the inaugural developer conference in San Francisco, the company is bullish about its future prospects. "We are replacing the hard drive," said Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, according to a report on Wired. "I don’t mean that you’re going to unscrew your MacBook and find a Dropbox inside, but the spiritual successor to the hard drive is what we’re launching."

The new Dropbox Platform includes tools for developers that will allow them to use Dropbox to sync app data between devices, so that a user of a photo-editing application can access the same library of photos and settings on their smartphone and tablet, for example.

The company's new APIs will also make it easier for app developers to include plugins that save to Dropbox, or choose files stored in the service for use within apps. "Drop-ins let developers connect to hundreds of millions of Dropboxes with just a few lines of code," the company said in a blog post.

"The Chooser gives people access to the files in their Dropbox from web and mobile apps, and the Saver makes saving files to Dropbox one-click simple. You can already see them in action in Yahoo Mail, Shutterstock, and Mailbox."

App developers interested in the new APIs can find details on the Dropbox Developer site.

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User comments

But

The NSA Prism debacle has made actual hard drives seem like a particularly appealing idea.

By revsorg on 10 Jul 2013

Dropbox replaces hard disk – not on my PC!

Recent NSA spying scandal made me re-think whole cloud storage idea. I kind of don't have anything to hide, but still not comfortable with idea that law enforcement can simply collect and go through my personal data whenever they like without any kind of court order or supervision.

By aa111 on 10 Jul 2013

Absolutely..

no way will any cloud storage company replace my hard disc...period. MY data is MINE and therefore I do not want it on someone else's property. Before handing over anything that is yours always read the T&C's. It is a slippery slope that I will never go down or recommend to anyone to store critical/confidential data. I do use cloud storage for non-important stuff but not on your life will I ever wholesale transfer my data over.

By EagleHasLanded on 10 Jul 2013

NSA

Revsorg, I expect they're well into Dropbox already. We could ask them...oh, where's that email come from?

By c_webb31 on 10 Jul 2013

in rural areas ??

with my broadband speed around 08 Mb, I don't think so.

By adriansbt on 10 Jul 2013

In their dreams

That is all.

By qpw3141 on 10 Jul 2013

not sure about this

I still don't totally trust any of the cloud services so I actually have my dropbox folder in my skydrive folder. Hey presto backed up in both places!

By rosscouk on 10 Jul 2013

not sure about this

I still don't totally trust any of the cloud services so I actually have my dropbox folder in my skydrive folder. Hey presto backed up in both places!

By rosscouk on 10 Jul 2013

so my whole computer can be read? No thanks

I've been using backupthat so I can avoid having all of my cloud storage in one easy-to-spy-on place. Why would I set my whole PC up on one monolithic cloud. I feel like my data would go from Dropbox's office in SF straight to the NSA across the street.

By carmakameleon on 10 Jul 2013

Until Dropbox provides an EULA that *guarantees* they will not lose my data, they are *not* a replacement for my PC's hard disk.

By halsteadk on 10 Jul 2013

JackNZ

The words "absolute guarantee" need to appear in the EULA.

By jackandi on 11 Jul 2013

Costs

I am already at my 5GB limit with a fraction of my photos stored need to go somewhat bigger limit before I start to rely of this service.

By weescotsguy66 on 11 Jul 2013

Never!

Not while there is breath in my body they won't.

Wake up people and realise why these people want to do this.

One day, the world will come to regret the power they have put into the hands of cloud providers,social media and indirectly Governments.

You have been warned!

By MartinBird on 11 Jul 2013

Nas Drive - private cloud!

I use my synology NAS drive for "mission Critical" stuff. Always on - accessible from anywhere from phone, tablet, pc - with 6 terabytes of raid1. Job done and easy to set up... oh and super private :-)

By johnnyp on 11 Jul 2013

Spideroak

In the real world total reliance on cloud storage is naïve. I have used Spideroak for many years totally encrypted to the point that forgetting password would be a disaster! backs up & syncs all my PC/Laptops has web access and is cross platform. Its as near perfect as I think is possible.

By pjn130752 on 11 Jul 2013

Nas Drive - private cloud!

I use my synology NAS drive for "mission Critical" stuff. Always on - accessible from anywhere from phone, tablet, pc - with 6 terabytes of raid1. Job done and easy to set up... oh and super private :-)

By johnnyp on 11 Jul 2013

What have you all got to hide?

What an earth have you all got that the NSA would be interested in? That is more worrying that any concerns about the Dropbox EULA.

We use Dropbox to share thousands of files with 100s of clients and contractors in my web design business, I really don't think anyone is going to be hacking in to our account to steal some Photoshop files.

By ollixmaster on 11 Jul 2013

Relative MTBF..

Although hard disks can fail, I reckon the odds of a data loss are far greater with cloud storage. Plus, I can back up data on my HD more easily and with more confidence than for remote data.

By Anteaus on 11 Jul 2013

suits them not me

Every company out there is trying to force users into a pay monthly life. It suits them hugely - they get cash flow and can then sell or mortgage it.
We've tried Cloud, and it was a complete flop being slow, a user turn off and as for support - in your dreams. In house was cheaper, faster, more popular and easier to manage.
Time someone told the truth - this Emperor has no clothes.

By Ip_pmjm044d1322b on 11 Jul 2013

> What have you got to hide?

I personally have nothing to hide. If the NSA are that sad and have nothing better to do they can view all of my stuff if they wish. However, many of my clients will care because they hold personally and commercially sensitive data. There are some suggestions at the moment that within 3 years, governments will have the technology to crack much of the existing security key infrastructure. That means they probably already can! Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress coming true? Maybe, but even if not, there are already many documented cases of major security breaches and data leaks in multi-tenant cloud environments due to software faults, poor configuration, poor management and rogue employees.

In any case, it is not just about security and privacy but about availability too. By relying solely on remote cloud storage, you are making yourself totally dependent on the speed, reliability and availability of your internet connections. This is in the control of a few powerful people, ISPs, networks and governments. They know this and understand the power and earnings potential it gives them and that is why there is so much hype and pressure to push people like lemmings into the cloud.

Already there are arguments raging about the amount of Internet bandwidth that is used by the big cloud providers and whether their traffic, contrary to existing conventions, gets routing priority over everyone else’s and whether they should be made to pay towards the provision of the internet backbone that they currently use so heavily for free. France is so concerned about this that they are proposing to legislate to ensure that the likes of Google can’t use their financial power to hog Internet bandwidth to everyone else’s detriment. The result is that ISP are now starting to switch to billing models based on bandwidth rather than speed so your costs to access your remote services are likely to increase. Once they have us all sucked in and totally dependent on their remote services, they will have us by the short and curlies!
We can all see and understand the benefits of the cloud but we should use them appropriately and understand and manage the risks. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and totally abandon your ability to access critical data locally.

I know many of you will think I am just a conspiracy theorist but I am not. I have been predicting this for some years and see it happening every day as my clients get sucked into inappropriate cloud based solutions (especially remote backup solutions) and then find that it all costs a lot more than they thought and often does not give them the benefits they were promised.

IMHO, “The Cloud” will become the next big mis-selling scandal. We will see!

By MartinBird on 11 Jul 2013

> What have you got to hide?

I personally have nothing to hide. If the NSA are that sad and have nothing better to do they can view all of my stuff if they wish. However, many of my clients will care because they hold personally and commercially sensitive data. There are some suggestions at the moment that within 3 years, governments will have the technology to crack much of the existing security key infrastructure. That means they probably already can! Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress coming true? Maybe, but even if not, there are already many documented cases of major security breaches and data leaks in multi-tenant cloud environments due to software faults, poor configuration, poor management and rogue employees.

In any case, it is not just about security and privacy but about availability too. By relying solely on remote cloud storage, you are making yourself totally dependent on the speed, reliability and availability of your internet connections. This is in the control of a few powerful people, ISPs, networks and governments. They know this and understand the power and earnings potential it gives them and that is why there is so much hype and pressure to push people like lemmings into the cloud.

Already there are arguments raging about the amount of Internet bandwidth that is used by the big cloud providers and whether their traffic, contrary to existing conventions, gets routing priority over everyone else’s and whether they should be made to pay towards the provision of the internet backbone that they currently use so heavily for free. France is so concerned about this that they are proposing to legislate to ensure that the likes of Google can’t use their financial power to hog Internet bandwidth to everyone else’s detriment. The result is that ISP are now starting to switch to billing models based on bandwidth rather than speed so your costs to access your remote services are likely to increase. Once they have us all sucked in and totally dependent on their remote services, they will have us by the short and curlies!
We can all see and understand the benefits of the cloud but we should use them appropriately and understand and manage the risks. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and totally abandon your ability to access critical data locally.

I know many of you will think I am just a conspiracy theorist but I am not. I have been predicting this for some years and see it happening every day as my clients get sucked into inappropriate cloud based solutions (especially remote backup solutions) and then find that it all costs a lot more than they thought and often does not give them the benefits they were promised.

IMHO, “The Cloud” will become the next big mis-selling scandal. We will see!

By MartinBird on 11 Jul 2013

> What have you got to hide?

I personally have nothing to hide. If the NSA are that sad and have nothing better to do they can view all of my stuff if they wish. However, many of my clients will care because they hold personally and commercially sensitive data. There are some suggestions at the moment that within 3 years, governments will have the technology to crack much of the existing security key infrastructure. That means they probably already can! Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress coming true? Maybe, but even if not, there are already many documented cases of major security breaches and data leaks in multi-tenant cloud environments due to software faults, poor configuration, poor management and rogue employees.

In any case, it is not just about security and privacy but about availability too. By relying solely on remote cloud storage, you are making yourself totally dependent on the speed, reliability and availability of your internet connections. This is in the control of a few powerful people, ISPs, networks and governments. They know this and understand the power and earnings potential it gives them and that is why there is so much hype and pressure to push people like lemmings into the cloud.

Already there are arguments raging about the amount of Internet bandwidth that is used by the big cloud providers and whether their traffic, contrary to existing conventions, gets routing priority over everyone else’s and whether they should be made to pay towards the provision of the internet backbone that they currently use so heavily for free. France is so concerned about this that they are proposing to legislate to ensure that the likes of Google can’t use their financial power to hog Internet bandwidth to everyone else’s detriment. The result is that ISP are now starting to switch to billing models based on bandwidth rather than speed so your costs to access your remote services are likely to increase. Once they have us all sucked in and totally dependent on their remote services, they will have us by the short and curlies!
We can all see and understand the benefits of the cloud but we should use them appropriately and understand and manage the risks. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and totally abandon your ability to access critical data locally.

I know many of you will think I am just a conspiracy theorist but I am not. I have been predicting this for some years and see it happening every day as my clients get sucked into inappropriate cloud based solutions (especially remote backup solutions) and then find that it all costs a lot more than they thought and often does not give them the benefits they were promised.

IMHO, “The Cloud” will become the next big mis-selling scandal. We will see!

By MartinBird on 11 Jul 2013

> What have you got to hide?

I personally have nothing to hide. If the NSA are that sad and have nothing better to do they can view all of my stuff if they wish. However, many of my clients will care because they hold personally and commercially sensitive data. There are some suggestions at the moment that within 3 years, governments will have the technology to crack much of the existing security key infrastructure. That means they probably already can! Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress coming true? Maybe, but even if not, there are already many documented cases of major security breaches and data leaks in multi-tenant cloud environments due to software faults, poor configuration, poor management and rogue employees.

In any case, it is not just about security and privacy but about availability too. By relying solely on remote cloud storage, you are making yourself totally dependent on the speed, reliability and availability of your internet connections. This is in the control of a few powerful people, ISPs, networks and governments. They know this and understand the power and earnings potential it gives them and that is why there is so much hype and pressure to push people like lemmings into the cloud.

Already there are arguments raging about the amount of Internet bandwidth that is used by the big cloud providers and whether their traffic, contrary to existing conventions, gets routing priority over everyone else’s and whether they should be made to pay towards the provision of the internet backbone that they currently use so heavily for free. France is so concerned about this that they are proposing to legislate to ensure that the likes of Google can’t use their financial power to hog Internet bandwidth to everyone else’s detriment. The result is that ISP are now starting to switch to billing models based on bandwidth rather than speed so your costs to access your remote services are likely to increase. Once they have us all sucked in and totally dependent on their remote services, they will have us by the short and curlies!
We can all see and understand the benefits of the cloud but we should use them appropriately and understand and manage the risks. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and totally abandon your ability to access critical data locally.

I know many of you will think I am just a conspiracy theorist but I am not. I have been predicting this for some years and see it happening every day as my clients get sucked into inappropriate cloud based solutions (especially remote backup solutions) and then find that it all costs a lot more than they thought and often does not give them the benefits they were promised.

IMHO, “The Cloud” will become the next big mis-selling scandal. We will see!

By MartinBird on 11 Jul 2013

Distributed processing, "The Cloud" failed 25 years ago because of lack of control over data.
What makes people think it will work now?

Would you let your neighbour look after you money???

By Burn_IT on 11 Jul 2013

Not a chance.. ever..

I agree wholeheartedly with previous comments.

1. Access depends 100% on an Internet connection which is out of your hands, both in terms of speed and reliability.

2. Privacy. I have nothing to hide per se. However I simply object to my personal information, such as photos of my niece and nephew, being held on third party servers where I would be held to *their* policies of backup and security. If their backup failed all I would get would be 'Oops sorry' and have lost irreplaceable memories, and that's just one instance.

3. GMail and Yahoo among others have shown categorically that the bigger the target the greater the attention from hackers. Nobody can guarantee they have unbreakable security, and if they do they're lying. Therefore all I would be doing is adding my personal information to the hacker's payload.

Not going to happen. As johnnyp said, I have my Synology NAS for automatic backup in RAID 1 and that's where it's staying.

By CeltiKaos on 11 Jul 2013

What have we got to hide?

@ollixmaster
When it comes to personal data everyone's got something to hide. Whether it be their bank data, their particular taste in (legal) porn or even just a few unflattering holiday photos few people would really be happy with an unaccountable 3rd party having access to their private files.

For business use this is not as important, although there are still issues with privacy laws since you're reponsible for keeping your client's data secure. The real problem though is that if your primary storage is Dropbox they can change their pricing and terms and conditions at will - and it won't be to your advantage. A better solution might be OwnCloud since you have the option of hosting your own 'cloud' on remote servers owned and controlled by you. Even if you do choose to use one of the OwnCloud hosting providers you can still more easily switch away from one if it starts causing you problems.

By happyskeptic on 11 Jul 2013

Don't Count On It

What cloud are these people living on?

By Cheeser on 11 Jul 2013

The cheek of it

Who do these arrogant people think they are. Cloud storage will always be risky. Servers go down. Hackers break in and steal. Even governments can't keep data safe. Clouds are not accessible just anywhere, only where there is internet access. I'll stick with external hard drives. I know where they are. I don't even have to be on line to use them; much safer than sitting on line all day waiting for some poacher to nick stuff. I learned my lesson putting a few photos on flikr. Never again. When Dropbox and its competitors can offer governments 100% secure data storage then maybe I'll think again. But until then - no chance!

By achillea on 11 Jul 2013

Megaupload

Why not ask former Megaupload users how satisfied they are now that their data has been impounded, regardless of whether the data is legal or not?

By Smiler on 11 Jul 2013

Cloud? Not so fast...

The whole "cloud" bandwagon has always concerned me, and in the last year or so, it's become ever clearer just why that is.
Hijacking known terms like "cloud" (especially for marketing purposes) has always irked me, but in this case it's actually also dangerous.
The Cloud was traditionally a concept used to abstract away parts of a network you really didn't need to worry about - usually the wider internet. The current re-tasking of the term hides the fact that you *absolutely do* need to worry about how it works, how you contact it, how reliable it is, and (perhaps most importantly) where *your* information is stored and what laws cover your rights to it (and other people's rights to it).

By mfairhurst1 on 12 Jul 2013

PeterCB

I seem to recall UK and EU data protection laws prohibit you from sending or storing personal data outside the EU without the specific permission of the data subject.

By pcbacfv1 on 14 Jul 2013

PeterCB

I seem to recall UK and EU data protection laws prohibit you from sending or storing personal data outside the EU without the specific permission of the data subject.

By pcbacfv1 on 14 Jul 2013

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