ThinkBoxly is the personal developer blog of Lucas Chasteen, author, programmer, artist, and always learning. Read more

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Dropbox is Dead: Long Live Copy?

No other company has so popularized cloud storage as Dropbox. It wasn’t the first to try and certainly not the last—most notably, Microsoft joined in with Skydrive and Google with Google Drive—but something about Dropbox’s style and effectiveness set it apart as the go-to option for synchronizing files over all the many electronic devices we are now expected to have. But now we have another contender: the aptly named Copy. And it really brings the storage space. Lots and lots of it. Will this new kid on the block dethrone Dropbox?

Dropbox offers 2GB of free cloud storage space. That’s enough for a hefty supply of documents, but try storing much else and you’ll be facing a monthly fee for additional space. Up until now, this hasn’t seemed like a stingy setup. Other cloud storage options like Skydrive offered more (5GB, in this case) but lacked the benefits and good image of their competitor. Google’s ToS especially came under fire for basically claiming the right to redistribute and repurpose files uploaded by Drive users. Dropbox, on the other hand, states in plain English that “your stuff” belongs to you, even though it is sitting on Dropbox’s servers.

In short, nobody else got the Dropbox formula quite right, and their mistakes only made Dropbox look that much better.

Enter Copy. Almost overnight the new service went from being a stranger to the web to being everyone’s favorite new toy. And understandably so: Copy offers 15GB of free storage right off the bat, and an additional 5GB free to anyone who refers the service to new users and the people they referred to. By comparison, Dropbox offers only a 250MB referral bonus. With such incentive for users to share, Copy has spread like wildfire and already convinced many users to make the switch from Dropbox entirely.

Furthermore, Copy’s ToS reads similarly to that of Dropbox, albeit with significantly more legalese. You can read the whole thing here if you like, but the short version is that whatever you upload to Copy stays yours completely.

All that being said, Dropbox still has a few edges over Copy. Although both are perfectly capable of sharing files privately or making them available to the general public, Dropbox makes this process a bit more obvious and user-friendly than does Copy. It’s a minor complaint and certainly one that can be overcome, but Dropbox sells itself on being stupidly simple to use, and those less-than-tech-savvy users out there might not find Copy quite as easy to adapt to on the finer points. One might even argue that these users aren’t going to try and create public links anyway, rendering the problem entirely moot. The Dropbox mobile application is also slightly more usable than Copy’s, but again we’re splitting hairs here. Considering Dropbox has been around for awhile and Copy is young, it’s impressive how close the two services are. Future updates will undoubtedly narrow the barely-existent gap even more.

Interested in claiming your 15GB of Copy storage? Why not grab an extra 5GB while you’re at it? Just hit up the link below and follow through with the software installation and you’ll be all set. Then you might also consider setting Dropbox not to autostart with your computer. You probably won’t be needing it anymore.