The Dropbox updates are fine
I keep a shit-ton of stuff in Dropbox. I’ve been using it with nary a hitch for many years. Dropbox was the first syncing option that didn’t completely suck, and it’s still better than the rest (I also use iCloud and Syncthing).
Sure, sometimes the Dropbox app uses too much CPU. On the other hand, sometimes iCloud loses data. And no one enjoys configuring Syncthing. Point is, Dropbox is the closest thing I’ve ever found to hassle-free sync across everything. The recently added Smart Sync is awesome. Add to that, Paper, which is quite nice, and darn good sharing options and I still feel like Dropbox is a winner.
The new Dropbox adds a bunch of stuff that, at first glance, made me think, “Ah, hooey, what’s this Evernote-level bullshit, now?!”
Then, I used the new desktop app all day today and am already finding the changes useful. It’s too early to be sure, or to review, but I think we all knew that Dropbox had to do something, and I think they may just be figuring out what that something is. If you don’t care about the new stuff, just keep using it the way you always have.
For a different take, Michael Tsai is collecting some of the more snarky knee-jerk reactions.
Ben Thompson (Stratechery):
I find this tremendously exciting, and sorely needed. For years I have been wondering which company will build the “operating system of the cloud”, and this seems like a very credible attempt to do just that. The new Dropbox app is basically a new version of the Finder or Explorer, with communication and collaboration built-in.
To that end, Dropbox will never achieve the same level of integration, given it has to partner with other companies, but it doesn’t need to: the idea is to have good-enough integration so that all of the apps it is integrating with can win on their own merits. In other words, I would go further than Houston: the new Dropbox isn’t simply complementary to a product like Slack in particular, it promises to make Slack a much better product in its own right, particularly when viewed from that higher, more wholistic level that Microsoft has focused on.
It remains to be seen how this plays out. It’s easy to succumb to the usual knee-jerk cynicism, but I’m not ready to dismiss it quite yet.