DropBox prices drop but is it enough?

Dropbox plays ‘catch up’ on OneDrive and Google but still lose the cloud storage lead. And there’s a competitor that might beat them all.

Dropbox has announced price decreases / storage increases to match offerings from Microsoft and Google.

The lowest level of paid Dropbox is ‘Pro’ for $9.99 a month or $99 per year. That did give you 100GB of storage and now you get 1Terabyte (1,000GB).

That sounds impressive until you realize that both Microsoft and Google offer a Terabyte for around the same price with document editing as well.

Microsoft Office 365 Personal costs $70 a year for the Office desktop and mobile applications plus a terabyte of OneDrive storage. Office 365 Home Premium is $99 a year for 5 people to use the Office programs and a terabyte each.

Google Drive is also $9.99 a month (no annual price) and integrates with Google Docs.

Dropbox did have an advantage being untied to a particular operating system (Windows, Android etc.) but that’s being somewhat eroded by the improvements in OneDrive apps.

All three major players are trying to ignore security and privacy issues in the hope that customers won’t notice or forget. Microsoft has been caught reading private emails for its self-interest. Dropbox has a former US National Security Advisor on their board which doesn’t help appearances. All the major players have no choice about supplying information from cloud storage to the US government even if it’s on a server outside the USA.

Which brings us to a new player that’s very interesting indeed. The ideal ‘cloud’ storage in terms of both cost and privacy is ‘peer to peer’. Instead of saving personal files to a ‘cloud’ server, you save files across multiple computers you own yourself. Microsoft’s Live Mesh had that feature but it was foolishly dropped by Microsoft in favor of cloud storage.

BT Sync

Enter BT Sync – a clever and powerful way to share folders between computers on a local network and across the Internet. It works across desktop and mobile devices plus some Network Attached Storage devices. There’s some powerful options including file masking (to exclude files of certain types) and an archive of deleted and changed files. We’ve seen it used to share documents and favorites between desktop and laptop computers, backups and sharing files between workers or friends living in another hemisphere.

It’s all private, encrypted in transit and only saved on the computers you choose. The iOS and Android apps are good and have one feature we dearly love – the ability to automatically download entire folders. There are some minor privacy concerns and features we’d like to see, but BitTorrent Sync is worth a look. It’s a rival to cloud storage providers who continue to ignore customer privacy at their peril.