Dropbox Casestudy

Group Topic: Website that use in sharing information (a) Background of the social site/mobiApp; explain the general type of social software site/mobiApp, its (country/city) origin, background of its creators, and related information you consider relevant. Dropbox is a online free service that lets you to host your documents or files on Dropbox server. It is one of the online file synchonization tools. Dropbox allows its users to bring and share all their photos, documents and videos everywhere with the others, whenever there are internet access, all the hosted files can be access across various computers or even multiple operating systems.

They can be shared easily. Dropbox Inc. was founded in June 2007 by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduates, who are Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. Their headquarter is in San Francisco, CA. There are totally 50 employees. The first product launch was on September 2008. Founder Drew Houston was born in Acton, Massachusetts in 1983. He studied at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in the 1990s. Afterwards, he continued his study and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, majoring Computer Science. Before he worked in Dropbox, he worked on a number of other companies such as Bit9, Accolade and Hubspot.

He came up the idea of Dropbox when he was still a student in MIT. The reason was he often forgot to bring his USB drive with him and it caused so many inconveniences to him. Then, he started to think for himself. He began to make something regarding to that. He even realized that it could benefit the others who have the same problem. At that time, no similar services are provided by other company. The existing email services at that time were suffering from internet latency, the size of file or bugs. As a result, he found Dropbox, Inc. in 2007 finally.

Drew is still the CEO of Dropbox Inc. currently. Arash Ferdowsi born on 7 October 1985. He is an Iranian-American entrepreneur. He studied in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, too. MIT was there that both Drew and Arash met each other in MIT. For the last semester in MIT, He ever dropped out his study in order to focus on developing Dropbox. He is not only the co-founder of Dropbox, he is also the Chief technology officer (CTO) of Dropbox. Being a CTO of Dropbox, he involved in every aspect, but mainly focus on making sure Dropbox and its server run as fast as possible.

Process After Drew was inspired to create a web service that can allow people bring the documents and photos with them without using usb thumb or email with attachment, he coded a demo of Dropbox and showed it to Arash, which is his classmate in MIT. After that, they started to work together on Dropbox to make it become reality. There are more than 25 million people registered to Dropbox for their service today. Dropbox provides their service in 175 countries and in five different languages, which is English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese. b) Value proposition of the site/mobiApp—what it tries to provide to users; Why should people visit/use and re-visit/reuse the site/mobiApp? What does it provide in terms of knowledge, community, other value, technical features that create and maintain the interest of people? The Dropbox tried to provide different useful functions to users in order to keep users stay in Dropbox network. It has various features as following, Synchronization of files Dropbox provided 2GB space for free, but the users can subscribe their service up to 100GB.

Users can put any document into a folder, which is synced with Dropbox, on their own computer, mobile devices. They can also upload documents via web browser. Other than this basic function, Dropbox also provides a synchronization function. They have their own self-developed desktop client software that can be installed on different platform, such as Windows, Mac or Linux. Users with this software installed on their computers can enjoy a real time synchronization features. Moreover, Dropbox also support history of revision.

Files deleted from the Dropbox folder can be recovered back from other synced computer, if those computers have not been synced yet. Sharing of files Basically, users can invite friends or their teammates to a specified folder. Once the files saved onto that folder, it will be saved to other users’ computer as well. There is another feature on Dropbox, which is version control. This function can help users know the file history which they are using. It enables multi-people to work on it, to edit it and re-edit it without complications of losing previous data in files.

However, this version history function is only limited to 30 days. For the unlimited version history, users have to consider subscribing the “Pack-Rat” function. Mobility Dropbox provides their service on different platforms, such as computer and mobile devices. There are apps for android, iOS and blackberry. Your information stored in Dropbox can kept to be update. The files can be edited through the mobile devices, too. Security Peoples concern about the security issue. The files upload to the Dropbox are via an encrypted channel. They use SSL in this case. Besides, all the files are being encrypted in the Dropbox server, too.

The server keeps the history of users’ files for a month. This allow the wrongly deleted files to be recovered and undelete. (c) Strengths and weaknesses; in considering item (b), does the site/mobiApp well or not well? E. g. , is the content new and interesting? Is the community diverse and active, …? Strengths 1. Easy file sharing between different platforms and users Dropbox provides software that can be installed on different platform, even different mobile devices. By simply installing this software on computer or mobile, all files saved on Dropbox can be accessible across these devices.

Besides, When the dedicated folder is set to be shared with other users, the users with access right can edit or even delete files in that folder. These changes are reflected in other users Dropbox account without other setting or process. 2. Substitute to sneakernet and other file sharing tools Sneakernet is one of the methods to transfer electronic information by physically carrying removable media, such as USB thumb drives, external harddisks, memory cards and CDs. It is troublesome for people to bring along their sneakernet tools with them all the time.

They may be lost or easily damaged. Once the above situation happened, all their files and data are gone. Therefore, it is insecure to use sneakernet. Moreover, no file sharing feature is provided if they use sneakernet. If they have to share the files with their teammates or friends, they have to use other tools, for instance email or bring them physically. However, it is limited to several sizes. There are other file sharing medium including FTP and email attachments etc. FTP might be a difficult concept for ordinary computer users since a FTP server has to be set up before using it.

Email attachment is not designed for storing files for exchange purpose. As a result, Dropbox is a user-friendly medium for people to exchange and access files when they need. 3. LAN Syncing This newly implemented feature allows to perform a extremely high speed of transfer of files, if two computers are located in the same LAN network. Weaknesses 1. The synchronizing files cannot be arbitrary chosen Dropbox provides a very simple file synchronizing function. The only files which will be synchronized is the files put into the Dropbox folder. In another word, users can’t choose files to synchronize from different folders. . Automatic synchronization cause security problem One of the selling point of Dropbox is the real time automatically sync features. However, it actually causes a serious security problem. The automatic synchronize starts without any notification or further authentication. Hackers don’t need to enter the account password to start the synchronization. The only method to block the hacker out is to remove the original device from the list of authorized devices in Dropbox account. Users may usually think that changing password regularly can help. However, it is useless.

The file will still be synchronized. (d) Interesting features; in addition to strengths, are there other noteworthy features? E. g. , is this the first site/mobiApp in this arena? Does it provide service to an otherwise underserved group? Does it achieve its goal with particularly low/high technology? Free service Dropbox provide a 2GB for a free account and 50GB/ 100GB for a paid account, or 350GB for a team account. The service providing in all aspect is totally the same, except the storage space. The reason behind is the CEO would like to make use of the word of mouth to expand their business.

They also believe in the current free user will eventually turn themselves into paid user after they have already relied on Dropbox and don’t have enough space. Moreover, there is another way to gain bonus storage space, which is inviting the others to register an account on Dropbox. Once they registered and installed Dropbox, 250MB per referral can be earned. Dropbox uses this to expand their business. Dropbox still works when users are offline Users can still work on the files they saved on Dropbox when there is not internet connection. Once the network is back, the file will be synced automatically to Dropbox.

This is different from others web-based apps. They usually require a constant internet network. Good integration with third-party tools There are a lot of third-party tools that are compatible with Dropbox, such as SideCLOUDload, Dropbox Linker and Dropbox Screen Grabber etc. Besides, the function of synchronizing with various email clients across different computer can also work well with Dropbox, but not on other syncing service. Dropbox is having its unique synchronizing technology that different email clients can work well with it. (e) Site/mobiApp success; identify key metrics and show performance, ideally against some competitors.

E. g. , among sites of the same nature, how well does this site/mobiApp perform? Dropbox Versus Box. net Same as Dropbox, Box. net is also a cloud file sharing website. However, there are some special features embedded. Box. net has more features than Dropbox. It has features such as granular user and group permissions, content management, task management, online workspaces geared for collaboration, built-in editor and admin account transfers etc. Comparing to Dropbox, it offers a more complete and more advance function, which can better suit enterprise business.

Although Box. net seems having a more powerful features, Dropbox in this case, still has its role to play. People always think that simple is the best, especially to those ordinary users. Dropbox allows users to sync files or share folders seamlessly via internet. Users don’t even have to learn how to use it. There is a step-by-step guideline that can be followed by users to complete the setup after they create their own account. In short, if users are seeking a solid cloud file sharing solution for business, Box. net is definitely the choice.

However, if users are seeking for a simple and easy-to-use sharing method, Dropbox is more suitable for them. Dropbox Versus iCloud iCloud is the first cloud sharing solution provided by Apple Inc. It has the same nature with Dropbox. iCloud’s feature set includes cloud emailing, calendaring, fancy iDevice-specific features, such as Find my Phone etc. iCloud is still a new comer while comparing with Dropbox. However, what it does better than Dropbox is the setting up procedures. Since iCloud is developed by Apple Inc. , it has a better integrate with iDevice for sure.

Whenever users start using iCloud, there is a wizard to teach u step-by-step to set up. I have mentioned above that there are several special functions of iCloud, which is relating to iDevices. It is easy to understand the reason of why some Apple fans treat iCloud as full replacement. But the truth is, while simply comparing the overall performance and features from both of them, Dropbox still has its own advantage. Dropbox provided a true storage and sync online solution. Besides, Dropbox has some special features, too. For instance, file revisions, more storage space and better cross-platform compatibility.

If you are using both Android and iOS operation system, Dropbox is only the way to handle both at the same time. To conclude, iCloud focus on providing service to Apple devices, while Dropbox concerns more about the storage function and synchronization. (f) Overall assessment of the site. Summary assessment based on (a) to (e). Nowadays, there are more than 25 million people registered to Dropbox for their service. There are more than one million files saved onto the server for every five minutes, while more than 200 million files saved daily.

Dropbox provides their service in 175 countries and in five different languages, which is English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese. Many users may really want to give thanks to Dropbox founder, which are Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. This maybe a great online cloud file sharing solution for them. They created the site with various significant functions, including Synchronization and sharing of files, Mobility of Dropbox and a high Security level. Users can share their file easily with people between different platforms. Users can even throw away their USB thumbs, since they can be simply replaced by Dropbox.

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