|Initial release||September 2008|
|Stable release||2.6.18 (March 4, 2014) [±]|
|Preview release||2.7.41 (March 6, 2014) [±]|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows
Mac OS X 10.4 and later
|Type||Online backup service|
|License||Proprietary software (Windows & Mac clients and Linux Dropbox daemon), Combined GPLv2/Proprietary (Linux Nautilus)|
|Alexa rank||120 (March 2014[update])|
Dropbox is a file hosting service operated by Dropbox, Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, California, that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, and client software. Dropbox allows users to create a special folder on each of their computers, which Dropbox then synchronizes so that it appears to be the same folder (with the same contents) regardless of which computer is used to view it. Files placed in this folder also are accessible through a website and mobile phone applications.
According to Dropbox, founder Drew Houston conceived the idea after repeatedly forgetting his USB flash drive while he was a student at MIT. He says that existing services at the time "suffered problems with Internet latency, large files, bugs, or just made me think too much". He began making something for his personal use, but then realized that it could benefit others with the same problems. Houston founded Dropbox, Inc. in June 2007, and shortly thereafter secured seed funding from Y Combinator. Dropbox officially launched at 2008's TechCrunch50, an annual technology conference.
Due to trademark disputes between Proxy, Inc. and Evenflow (Dropbox's parent company), Dropbox's official domain name was "getdropbox.com" until October 2009, when they acquired their current domain, "dropbox.com".
In May 2010, Dropbox users in China were unable to access Dropbox. Later, Dropbox confirmed they had been blocked by the Chinese government. Due to the fact that the censorship usually focuses on popular services only, many considered this evidence of Dropbox's rapidly rising popularity and international user base. As of January 2013[update], the website is still blocked in China, but locally installed applications are usable with some ISPs.
In April 2012, Dropbox announced a new feature allowing users to automatically upload photographs or videos from camera, tablet, SD card, or smartphone. Users will be given up to 3 GB (initially 5 GB) extra space to accommodate the photographs and videos uploaded in this fashion, but the space is permanently added to the user's allowance and is not restricted to pictures. It is viewed as a move against Google's recently launched Google Drive and Microsoft's SkyDrive.
As of 26 September 2012[update], Facebook and Dropbox integrated to allow group users to share files to Facebook Groups using Dropbox’s cloud-based storage system. The feature allows users to directly share inside Facebook's group pages without exiting the Facebook domain. This did not replace the built in Facebook uploading feature, but added to it for any files that were already uploaded to their Dropbox storage account.
On November 12, 2012, Dropbox announced it had reached 100 million users. On December 19, 2012, Dropbox acquired Snapjoy, which provided a service for aggregating, archiving and viewing all digital photographs taken with cameras, phones, or popular photo applications. Financial terms were not released at the time of the acquisition.
As of February 2013, Dropbox was responsible for 0.29% of all worldwide Internet traffic.
On November 13, 2013, Dropbox announced it had reached 200 million users, and announced changes to "Dropbox for Business".
On November 21, 2013, Dropbox released new application versions for iOS. The new design has a cleaner and simpler user interface which brings the app in-line with other iOS 7 offerings.
Dropbox is funded by Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, and Amidzad. Starting in mid-2009, they began releasing new features gradually to help measure customer interest, a Lean Startup technique.
In 2011, technology entrepreneur Praveen Yajman speculated that Dropbox's valuation was more than $1 billion. TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Business Insider, and Financial Post speculated that Dropbox's valuation could be up to $5 to $10 billion, while its 2011 revenue was expected to be $240 million.
The desktop client has no restriction on individual file size; files uploaded via the web site are limited to no more than 10 GB per file. To prevent free users from creating multiple linked free accounts, Dropbox includes the content of shared folders when totaling the amount of space used on the account.
||This section reads like a review rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (February 2013)|
Both the Dropbox server and desktop client software are primarily written in Python. The desktop client uses GUI toolkits such as wxWidgets and Cocoa. Other notable Python libraries include Twisted, ctypes, and pywin32. Dropbox ships and depends on the librsync binary-delta library (which is written in C).
The Dropbox client enables users to drop any file into a designated folder that is then synchronized with Dropbox's Internet service and to any other of the user's computers and devices with the Dropbox client. Users may also upload files manually through a web browser.
Dropbox client supports synchronization and sharing along with personal storage. It supports revision history, so files deleted from the Dropbox folder may be recovered from any of the synced computers. Dropbox supports multi-user version control, enabling several users to edit and re-post files without overwriting versions. The version history is by default kept for 30 days, with an unlimited version called "Pack-Rat" available for purchase.
The version history is paired with the use of delta encoding technology. When a file in a user's Dropbox folder is changed, Dropbox only uploads the pieces of the file that are changed when synchronizing, when possible.
Dropbox uses Amazon's S3 storage system to store the files; though Houston has stated that Dropbox may switch to a different storage provider at some point in the future. It also uses SSL transfers for synchronization and stores the data via AES-256 encryption, though this is done with Dropbox's own encryption keys, and not the users'.
Dropbox also provides a technology called LAN sync, which allows computers on a local area network to securely download files locally from each other instead of always hitting the central servers. LANSync was developed by Dropbox Engineer Paul Bohm.
Users have devised a number of uses for and mashups of the technology that expand Dropbox's functionality. These include: sending files to a Dropbox via Gmail; using Dropbox to sync IM chat logs; BitTorrent management; password management; remote application launching and system monitoring; and as a free Web hosting service.
There are official and unofficial Dropbox add-ons, mostly created by the Dropbox community. These add-ons are both in the form of web services such as SendToDropbox (which allows users to email files to their Dropboxes), Backup Box (which facilitates online backup of FTP, Git, MySQL, and other services to Dropbox accounts), and desktop applications such as MacDropAny (which allows users to sync any folder on their computer with Dropbox).
An open source tool called Dropship provided unauthenticated access to Dropbox-hosted files by using the Dropbox API to access files by their hash. Dropbox attempted to suppress this project by requesting its suspension where it was being hosted, and by issuing an erroneous DMCA takedown notice, later said by Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi to have been incorrectly auto-generated by a support tool used to ban the public links.
Dropbox has been praised by many publications—including The Economist, New York Times, PC Magazine, and The Washington Post—for its simple design and ease of use. It has also received several awards, including the Crunchie Award in 2009 for Best Internet Application, and Macworld's 2009 Editor's Choice Award. It was nominated for a 2010 Webby Award, and for the 2010 Mac Design Awards by Ars Technica.
Dropbox has been named as the world's fifth most valuable web startup after Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, and Groupon, has been described as Y Combinator's most successful investment to date, and is among the top 10 iPhone most popular apps of all time, according to TechCrunch. It was voted among the top 10 Android apps of all time, according to ZDNet, said to be one of the top 50 emerging companies by TIEcon, and called one of the 20 best startups of Silicon Valley. Drew Houston was called the best young tech entrepreneur by Business Week, and he and co-founder Arash Ferdowsi were named among the top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs by inc.com. In January 2012, the company was named startup of the year by TechCrunch.
In May 2011, a complaint was filed with the U.S. FTC alleging Dropbox misled users about the privacy and security of their files. At the heart of the complaint was the policy of "deduplication", where the system checks if a file has been uploaded before by any other user, and links to the existing copy if so; and the policy of using a single AES-256 key for every file on the system so Dropbox can (and does, for deduplication) look at encrypted files stored on the system, with the consequence that any intruder who gets the key (as well as Dropbox employees) could decrypt any file if they had access to Dropbox's backend storage infrastructure.
On June 20, 2011, TechCrunch reported that all Dropbox accounts could be accessed without password for four hours. This was later widely reported in the mainstream press and caused some doubt about Dropbox's "cloud" technology model. The error was caused by an authentication code update made at 1:54 p.m. Pacific Time; it was detected at 5:41 p.m. and immediately fixed. About 1% of Dropbox's users were logged in at that time; all sessions were immediately terminated. All users with compromised accounts were notified by email.
On July 31, 2012, Dropbox announced that an employee's account had been hacked, resulting in a number of Dropbox users' being spammed by email. In March 2013, users reported additional spam resulting from the July email leakage.
On June 6, 2013, The Guardian and The Washington Post publicized confidential documents suggesting Dropbox was being considered for inclusion in the National Security Agency's classified PRISM program of Internet surveillance.
On January 10, 2014, Dropbox experienced an outage, which the company publicly acknowledged on the company's home page: "We are aware of an issue currently affecting the Dropbox site". It continued, "We have identified the cause, which was the result of an issue that arose during routine internal maintenance, and are working to fix this as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience." A hacker group called The 1775 Sec tweeted that it had compromised Dropbox's site to honor the anniversary of the Internet activist and computer programmer Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January 2013, and had stolen a list of emails, which they posted on the website Pastebin. However, Dropbox denied having been hacked, asserting the "hacker incident" was a hoax. The security researcher Wesley Mcgrew further pointed out the emails supposedly stolen from Dropbox have been found elsewhere on the web, and a known Anonymous Twitter account officially denied the hacker group's involvement.
Dropbox had premises at 760 Market Street in San Francisco, until moving to larger premises in July 2011.
From that date Dropbox's corporate headquarters are at Suite 400 on the fourth floor of the China Basin Landing building in San Francisco. The company occupies the fourth floor of the 1991 section of the facility, with 85,600 square feet (7,950 m2) of space, and an option to take more space.
- Cloud storage
- Comparison of file hosting services
- Comparison of online backup services
- Remote backup service
- Dropbox – Release Notes
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