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About eight months ago, before I started writing for SmallCloudBuilder, I wrote an article on my personal blog where I argued that SugarSync was better than Dropbox. (Matt Smollinger reached the same conclusion in his comparison, too.)

During those eight months, Dropbox has been busy and a few weeks ago announced a "fresh new Dropbox". So let's take a look.

I don't think Dropbox needs any introduction. So I'll jump right into the new interface, which does look a lot cleaner. Here is the old look:

Dropbox old look

Dropbox old look

And here is the new.

Dropbox new look

Dropbox new look

The main difference, as explained by Dropbox, is the removal of the toolbar along the top that made the interface a bit more cluttered. The options are still available, but via the context menu (right click). In addition, now in place of toolbar, you have a range of sorting options including by file/folder name, by file type and by modified date.

If you do select a file, then the toolbar appears again (highlighted in yellow) giving you the options you previously had.

Dropbox Toolbar appears

Dropbox Toolbar appears

And the right click menu provides these options as well...

Dropbox Context Menu

Dropbox Context Menu

For me, the biggest difference comes from the interface for photos and videos. The gallery setup provides a much cleaner interface now and provides a slideshow feature once you select a photo. You can also play back your videos. When you share the link to your photo directories, your friends can now navigate through your photos much more easily than before.

I recently re-signed with SmugMug for my photo storage/sharing, but this is making think again. I feel SmugMug still wins on photo hosting. But with the new gallery interface, I can synchronize with my laptop and keep my online galleries up to date, and they look good! So I might be moving back to Dropbox.

Dropbox Photo Gallery Interface

Dropbox Photo Gallery Interface

Android App Refresh

While not directly related to the Dropbox interface updates, I thought it was worth mentioning that Dropbox' Android application also got a facelift recently. The app now provides automatic uploading of photos from your Android phone to your Dropbox account and provides a handy interface to your online content.

Drobox is not the only one in the cloud storage game doing this, and they're certainly not the first. But they do have a simple app that does what you need it to do.

Dropbox Application on Android

Dropbox Application on Android

The Dropbox mobile app is also available on other platforms...

Dropbox Mobile Applications

Dropbox Mobile Applications

Drag And Drop

Personally, I don't try to organise my content on Dropbox, I do it on my laptop and let it sync. However, for those of you who do, you now have 'drag and drop' for file management. This also means that the checkbox selection of files is gone. So now you can click / shift click to select multiple files, as you currently do in Windows.

And in a similar fashion to Google Instant search, the updates to Dropbox provide 'instant' results as you type into the Search box. This is a handy feature that helps narrow down your selection as you type.

Dropbox File Selection

Dropbox File Selection

Summing Up

The new Dropbox interface is much tidier now and provides some handy new features. I feel the key change is to the Dropbox photo galleries, which might be enough to make me switch back to Dropbox from SmugMug. Add in the updated mobile applications and the total package is quite compelling.

So SugarSync and I might be parting ways sometime soon (although I have earned a lot of free storage). My one downside that remains is that I can't get Dropbox to work through my company firewall. A little help here, Dropbox?

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