Dropbox is a wildly popular service that allows people to upload their documents/photos and even videos to a personal cloud account. This cloud is accessible from anywhere and from any device, letting people having their documents with them at all times. Dropbox makes backing up and restoring files is very easy, and even if your computer catches on fire and dies, you can restore all your files with just a couple clicks.
Considering the fact that Dropbox is almost 12 years old at this point, there is a very high chance that you have used it for a variety of purposes. Hence this article isn’t going to rehash any details that you might already know but will try to tell you some facts and statistics that might surprise you.
- In 2012, Dropbox earned the ‘Best Overall Startup’ award at the, now defunct, Crunchies awards.
- 1.2 billion files are saved on Dropbox every day.
- Dropbox users have established well over 3.3 billion connections.
- There are 100,000 shared folders and links created on Dropbox every hour.
- 75% of Dropbox Business teams are using one or more third-party applications that are linked to Dropbox.
Dropbox is a very popular productivity application. How popular you ask? Let’s find out!
1. Dropbox’s creation was due to founder Drew Houston’s forgetfulness: Like everyone who has to operate multiple computers, Drew Houston had the bad habit of forgetting his USB drives at important times. After a particularly bad case of data loss, wherein one of his hard drives, for which he had no backup, crashed, Drew had had enough. He created his own personal server and wrote a program that would allow him to access the server and its data from any location. He realized the program’s usefulness and released the application under the name Dropbox to his fellow MIT students. After seeing the rapid success of the idea, he decided to scale up the program and release it as commercial software. With the aid of Arash Ferdowsi, he founded Dropbox Inc., and both of them managed to secure seed funding of $1.2 million. The rest is history.
2. More than 9 million businesses trust Dropbox to share their data: It isn’t just individuals that utilize Dropbox to save their data on the cloud. Due to the growing prevalence of a decentralized workspace and the rising adoption of IoT devices, a lot of businesses are looking to move their data to the cloud. Dropbox has become one of the go-to applications for the same. As of 2017, nearly 9 million businesses were using Dropbox’s application for storing data and collaborating within their structure. This number is expected to rise sharply with Dropbox introducing a slew of business-oriented features alongside a new encryption algorithm. Seeing as security concerns are the main reason corporations don’t opt for cloud storage, the new encryption algorithm is rue to bring in corporations that are still on the fence.
3. 92% of the Fortune 500 companies use Dropbox: The Fortune 500 companies are the group of companies that set the standard for most other companies. These companies are mainly focused on efficiency and productivity. For this purpose, as many as 92% of these companies use Dropbox for sharing files and tasks easily. 56% of the Fortune 500 companies use the paid version that is made for business exclusively. This sets a precedent for the entire corporate world, and as a result, Dropbox is growing rapidly.
4. Dropbox is available in over 180 countries and supports over 20 languages: Dropbox’s popularity has increased a lot since its inception. As of 2018, according to Dropbox’s publicly released documents, it was available in over 180 countries, with live support available for nearly 130 of them. These countries, obviously, span a huge and diverse portion of the world. To allow for this, Dropbox is available in 20 languages, allowing for a large variation of its userbase.
5. The Dropbox Android App has been downloaded well over 500 million: As we have seen, Dropbox’s main appeal comes from the fact that it allows people to keep access to all their files across all their devices. Considering the fact that Android OS is the most used smartphone OS, it is no surprise that a lot of Android users want their Dropbox account on their android phones. This has led to the Dropbox Android application being downloaded more than 500 million times across the world. This puts it firmly in the top 500 applications in the world.
(Source: Google Play)
6. Dropbox is the collaboration application of choice for 65% of the Sundance filmmakers: The Sundance film festival is one of the most respected events in the filmmaking world. It provides an amazing platform for independent filmmakers to showcase their works. These filmmakers often work in small teams that work separately from each other and then combine their efforts into a cohesive whole. According to a survey conducted at the 2017 Sundance festival, 65% of the filmmakers stated that they used Dropbox for their collaborative needs. According to them, it provides the perfect platform for the desperate teams to share their progress with each other and for the director to monitor all progress.
7. More than 400 billion pieces of content have been uploaded to Dropbox: Since it was inception in 2007, Dropbox has exploded in popularity. It started off with one single CPU functioning as its server to owning over 10,000 servers around the world. The rise in the server size has been due to the huge amount of data that its users have generated. According to some estimates, as many as 400 billion unique pieces of content have been uploaded to Dropbox. This content included text documents, videos, music, photos, and in some cases, the sensitive portfolios of corporations as well. The Dropbox server are known for their reliability despite the large amount of data they handle on a day to day basis.
8. 44% of new Dropbox users were recommended by a friend: When Dropbox was first introduced, it was meant to be an application for MIT students to keep all their work in one place. It spread throughout the campus mainly via word of mouth and soon became very popular, which led to the founder to launch it commercially. Nowadays, Dropbox might be a billion-dollar company, but the way it spreads among new users hasn’t changed at all. According to a survey of all new users, 44% of the states that they were introduced to the service by a friend recommending it to them to solve their storage issues. The next most common reason for Dropbox’s adoption was due to corporate requirements, with 21% of the new users stating it as the reason.
9. Dropbox has 500 million active users: Dropbox has become one of the most used applications in the world. Going up against technology giants like Microsoft and Google isn’t an enviable position to be in, but Dropbox manages to do very well. It recently cracked the half a billion users’ milestone, with the last 100 million user’s adoption Dropbox in merely three months. The number of users keeps growing every day, with Dropbox founder and CEO Drew Houston stating that Dropbox will manage to achieve 1 billion users by the end of 2021.
The number and demographics of users don’t always paint an accurate picture of the success of an application. So here, we will take a look into the financial side of things and try to understand the success of everyone’s favorite collaboration application.
10. Dropbox is used by more than 13.6 million paying users: The base application for Dropbox is free to use. This free service has a storage limit of 2 GBs and has a very limited range of features when compared to the premium service. The premium service is very lucrative to businesses and individuals who need a large amount of cloud storage space for one reason or another. Dropbox has two different premium plans. The popularity of these plans is very obvious when one looks at the number of people paying for a premium plan. By the end of 2018, there were 11 million users with a paid account.
11. Dropbox earned $1.4 billion in revenue in 2018 and is expected to reach $2.4 billion in 2021: The widescale adoption of Dropboxes’ premium service is reflected in the revenue that the company brings in as well. According to the IPO filed by Dropbox in 2017, they earned $1.106 billion in revenue. This was a massive increase from the revenue they earned just two years ago in 2015, which was $600 million. The company shows a CAGR of 35.43% and is expected to keep increasing its revenue to nearly $2.7 billion in 2021. The year of 2017 also marked Dropbox opening its own servers reducing their operating costs by a large amount.
12.Dropbox saved nearly $75 million by creating their own data servers: Amazon Web Service is a very useful tool that allows smaller companies to buy up space in their servers for various purposes. Until 2016, Dropbox stored all of its data on the AWS service and paid a hefty sum of money for the same. Before their IPO, they deiced to cut costs where they could and identified the rent for the servers as one of the major expenses that could be cut. They created their own server architecture, which was optimized for their application, and established more than 10,000 physical servers to store their users’ data. This helped them cut nearly $74.5 million off of their operating costs, driving the price of their IPO up by a huge margin.
(Source: Data Center Knowledge)
Security Risks associated with Dropbox
Dropbox might seem like the ultimate tool for a business, but that is not the complete truth. Dropbox has a lot of security flaws that might turn some organizations off. Here we will take a look at these security risks, to make sure that you are aware of them before utilizing Dropbox.
13. Dropbox is the second most blacklisted application in workplaces around the world: Dropbox has made the workplace a more productive place. This productivity boost occurs due to the ease with which co-workers can collaborate and share with each other. The UI of Dropbox helps this along by simply allowing people to copy and paste their documents into a single folder present on the computer itself. This lets the users use the application without having to switch through multiple windows or needing to log in over and over again. However, despite all its positive qualities that it brings to the workplace, Dropbox is still the most blacklisted application in most workplaces. This is primarily due to the security concerns that it brings along, from lack of administrative checks and controls to the other points that we will explore further in the article.
P.S: The most blacklisted application is Angry Birds!
14. The URLs generated for sharing documents with Dropbox can be accessed by anyone: The main way to share documents and folders with Dropbox is to generate a URL and share it. This URL leads an individual directly to the document being shared. However, once the URL has been generated, the user has no control over who views it. Anyone who has the link has full access to the document or folder being shared. The full access that URLs can give to a potentially damaging individual is a very scary prospect for corporations. Indeed, in a study conducted by Intralinks, researchers were able to access highly confidential corporate documents by simply gaining access to the URLs that were shared internally. The only protection that Dropbox offers to protect against this is making URLs password sensitive. However, this is only possible in the highest-paid version of the application.
15.Dropbox doesn’t permanently remove deleted files by default: When we delete a file, we expect it to disappear completely, not be accessible to anyone, not even to the person who deleted the file. However, this is not the case with Dropbox. Dropbox does not remove the deleted file completely by default. It is stored on their serves for 30 days at a minimum, and up to one year. This can present a huge security risk for any individual or corporation if a file falls into the wrong hands due to erroneous deletion. This can be remedied by doing to the deleted files section and deleting the file again, which does not occur to most people.
Dropbox’s popularity has continuously been rising in the past few years. This is mainly because of its primary service that allows people to have access to all their files everywhere they go. However, another factor that boosts Dropbox’s popularity are the powerful features that it offers to people. Here are some of the most helpful tools that Dropbox offers to its users:
16.Previewing Photoshop and Illustrator Files without the need for the adobe application: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are the two major applications that are used to create any digital pictures. Unfortunately, they use specific file formats in their application, file formats that mostly cannot be opened by most commercial image viewing software. This is a huge problem for Graphic Designers as they need to convert the files into JPEG or PNG formats, which depending on the design and techniques being used, can be a very tedious process. However, using Dropbox for submitting designs completely circumnavigates this problem by allowing PSD files to be previews like any other file format. This makes it the preferred way to share their work with anyone that requires it. It’s a small but powerful tool that makes life easy for a lot of people.
17. Request specific files from anyone in your contacts list: When managing or collaborating a team, all documents and files must be delivered exactly when needed. Dropbox takes this important step and makes it very easy to achieve. Its request feature lets users email or message specific participants of the team to request a file they need. The person who gets the request gets a simple link that they can follow to upload the desired file. This feature makes sure that there is no loss of files due to miscommunication.
18. Hold live discussions about any document without changing applications: Communication is the key to success for any team or organization. However, all communication applications require a user to switch over from whatever file they are currently working on to a messaging application. While holding a discussion about a specific file, this can be very frustrating to do over and over again. This frustration can be avoided if the team chooses to collaborate using Dropbox. Using the chat head feature in Dropbox, users can hold discussions about any document without ever leaving the window. They can also make live changes to the document that will be reflected on everyone’s screen live, allowing for seamless editing and teamwork.
19. Host a podcast easily with Dropbox’s JustCast: Podcasting is a growing entertainment industry. There are a lot of services that can be used to deliver podcasts via channels. These services, while they are amazing at delivering and managing a channel, can be a hassle to actually keep your files stored. This can lead to files getting accidentally disorganized or even lost if there are hundreds of episodes. Dropbox helps podcasters solve this issue via its JustCast service. This service lets users simply use the Dropbox architecture to manage their podcast’s files. Users can create a JustCast folder on their computers, and every audio file copied into this folder gets uploaded to the podcast service of the user’s choice, removing all hassle about file storage and management.
20. Create a portfolio with all your photos, including marketing tools: A very unlikely use for Dropbox is found among photographers. Dropboxes Photoshoot is the perfect tool for photographers to market their portfolios properly. They can arrange their photos appropriately, create categories, write small segments or captions for every picture, etc. There are also options for including links to your social media profiles. This is very important for photographers as their portfolio is where they get a majority of their business come through.
(Source: Imaging Resource)
21. Monitor your computer remotely: There are a lot of reasons one might want to keep a close eye on their computer when they are away. This brings up another rather unexpected feature of Dropbox into the light. Dropbox has a very simple screenshot feature that allows for screenshots to be taken at regular intervals as long as the computer is switched on. These screenshots can be directly synced to the Dropbox account logged into the computer. This can be used to monitor what is happening on the computer at all times with the Dropbox application from another device.
22. Send a file to be downloaded directly instead of being previewed: Do you want to share a file with somebody but have them downloaded directly instead of being previewed when clicked? Now with Dropbox, it is very easy! This can be very handy when sharing a large number of files with a lot of people, so they don’t have to wait around for every file to open first, and then waiting for it to download. The way to do this is rather simple. All one needs to do is to generate the share link. Then scan through the link and find the phrase “dl=0”. Just change this zero to a one. So, it should say “dl=1”. For example, let’s say the Dropbox link reads
Change the bit at the end to say “dl=1”. So, your final link should be of the format: “www.dropbox.com/…/URL.webloc?dl=0”