Not really an app, Dropbox is an online storage site that allows you to store your files “in the cloud.” Initially everyone gets 2 GB of storage but there are many options for increasing your storage space including recommending it to your friends. (If you decide to create a Dropbox account and name me the person who recommended you, we both get additional space.) You can get additional free space by linking it to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, following DropBox on Twitter or doing a referral, up to 18 GB total.
Once you have your account set up you can add Dropbox as a folder on your main computer and have ready access to all your online files. I have set up all my important project files in Dropbox with an alias (shortcut) to each project folder. I use those alias folders on my computer just as if they were regular folders knowing that whenever I save a document to one of these folders its actually sent to the cloud for safekeeping. You can access those files from any computer using the Web or mobile device app. (I have put the app on both my iPhone and iPad for ready access.) I believe that Dropbox files on your primary computer are also stored on that computer so you can access them when you don’t have internet access. Having documents available from anywhere is extremely handy if you’re using multiple computers or other devices.
Another the nice things about Dropbox is that it archives previous versions of documents. That’s a handy feature when you want to “roll back” a document. I used that feature not long ago when I was creating study guides for my fall class. Once I have documents like that formatted I like to just copy from one document to another for consistency. However, I mistakenly saved the new file under the old file’s name so my Hinduism Study Guide was lost. It was quite easy to go online, find the second-to-last save of the document and make it the current version. In 5 minutes tops I had save myself tons of work. I wouldn’t use it as my only backup option but having my critical documents stored in the cloud with a handily roll-back feature helps me to sleep better at night.
You can also make documents available to the world through a Public folder or to individuals. When my publisher was having email problems around the time the first draft of my new book was due, I just sent the editor a link to the appropriate Dropbox folder and she was able to download it easily. This availability was limited to her, so I was confident that my work wasn’t being shared around the net. This would also be a handy way to share documents with collaborators. I do have my CV in the public folder so if you want to hire me you can check it out.
The first 2 GB (plus supplements) are free but you can purchase more (up to 32 GB) if you need it. I haven’t even come close to exploiting all the possibilities but have to say Dropbox has been worked very well for me.