First off, if you haven’t heard of Dropbox’s new Pro Plan announcement, see it for yourself here.
In short, Dropbox has revamped its pro plan to add a couple new things.
- There is now only one plan option: 1TB for $10/month
- Shared links can now be password protected
- Shared links can now be set with expiration dates
- Shared links can now limit access to ReadOnly/Read+Write
- Shared folders can now limit access to ReadOnly/Read+Write
- Unlimited version history for a year
It is clear that most of the items on this last are good for the consumer. Let’s take a closer look.
New Price Point
Dropbox seems to have lost their minds just a little bit. Previously, Dropbox was $10/month for 100GB of storage. This is a 10x increase in storage space for users who were already paying for the standard 100GB pro plan. This is a great deal for those who were reliant on Dropbox’s services.
I believe the reason that Dropbox was able to do this was because they realized that a large majority of their customers actually used less than their allocated limits. Thus, they figured that upgrading everyones’ limits would not hurt too much as most people won’t use up to 1TB of space. I doubt that Dropbox has enough storage space to actually house 1TB of files from every single user – but they were confident that not everyone would be utilizing the full 1TB of cloud storage. It is a little insane to put that much in the cloud, after all.
The interesting thing about this price point is that it does not change their base price at all. They still have their free version, but to upgrade from the free version you still need to fork over the $10/month. Thus, this recent pro plan change does not do anything to separate them from their competitors who might offer 100GB of storage for $5/month. Although 1TB/$10 is a pretty sweet deal, Dropbox is not going to be gaining any new customers who are hesitant to pay the $10/month fee.
The main competitor that Dropbox was going against with this price revision, I think, is Google Drive, who is known for their notoriously low price points. Combine these price points with Dropbox’s speed and native clients… that’s enough to make any existing Dropbox customer drool. But it makes me wonder how many old pictures are now going to be hogging all the hard disk space in Dropbox’s headquarters.
When sharing a file on Dropbox, it was obvious that there was a gap. When sharing from Google Drive, for example, the sharer had the ability to give the receiver specific permissions (whether they could only view, edit, or comment). Dropbox did not have this functionality, causing it to slump a bit when it came to sharing. Either you shared the file or you didn’t. Those were your only options.
With this new update, Dropbox is leveling the playing field just a tad. Just like Google Drive, sharers who use Dropbox to share their files can now specify what people can do with these files. This makes it much easier to collaborate on documents, something that Dropbox definitely didn’t have the functionality to do previously.
Expiration dates on links are a great touch, too. There have been numerous times when I want to share something with a coworker in that moment, but wanted the link to expire so the public could not see it after about 30 minutes. It would serve as a quick interaction between my colleague and I. Since usually I share code, I previously did this through Pastebin. However, now that Dropbox has the functionality natively, I will definitely start using Dropbox for this function.
I think this is a major win for Dropbox. The only downside? Maybe sharing files will take a few extra seconds to make sure that all the permission and expiration settings are correct. I think it’s worth the sacrifice, though.
Previously, Dropbox’s version history capabilities were only available to those who subscribed to their Packrat service, which provided unlimited version history for all files in the user’s Dropbox folder. Now, this functionality is available to all subscribers for a year.
Of course, Dropbox didn’t eliminate the Packrat service. For those who still want unlimited versioning history, users can opt-in to the Packrat service again, even though it has essentially disappeared from the public eye.
Being a subscriber of Packrat, I know that it can definitely come in handy. I think that this feature being available to everyone is great, as it is a perfect solution for when you’re coding and you forget to setup a git repository and something breaks. Dropbox has your back! (As long as you had an internet connection while creating and editing the files).
Overall, this upgrade is a major win for Dropbox customers. Although the amount of new customers it may lure in is questionable, it still provides existing customers with a huge slew of new features. I honestly don’t know how Dropbox is able to handle this much data (1TB for each pro subscriber as well as 1 year of backed up versioning history), but I think the primary reason is that not every subscriber will be utilizing the full 1TB of cloud storage space. I know that I probably won’t be.
If you’ve been hesitant to join the Dropbox Pro club, though, maybe this recent pro plan revision will convince you otherwise.