17 comments

  • boromi 13 days ago

    I wish dropbox had fewer features not more. Peak dropbox was like 5 years ago

    • nemothekid 13 days ago

      Even then it seems they are removing storage features. My Dad has 2 MacBook Pros - one at work and one at home. Maybe 8 years ago he was complaining about having to email himself documents so he had them available at home. I setup this nifty service - DropBox for him. One thing that got him to stick with it was I symlinked his Documents folder to DropBox. For him he didn't have to change his workflow. He would save at home, and go to work and the file would be there magically. Anytime he was on the road he could use the Dropbox UI and get anything he needed. He used less than the free 2GB of space for a long time, but was a paying customer from day one.

      One day, last year, he calls me exasperated that his DropBox no longer worked. I discovered they killed the feature and "controlling his digital life" wasn't all that important to him.

      I had moved to iCloud Drive a while back and told him to do the same. No more DropBox.

      • ffpip 13 days ago

        Yeah. It's too expensive now.

        G Suite is $12 USD / user / month. It gives you unlimited storage. AND everything else like Meet, Forms, Docs, Slides, Mail, Sheets, Apps Script, etc.

        Dropbox is $15 / user / month. For 5 TB. How does that even make sense? The features are also lacking. SSL is apparently a feature now.

        • somehnguy 13 days ago

          G Suite is an incredible value. I have an account with a single user, paying $12+tax/month. On that account I have 20TB in Drive. Good luck getting that kind of storage pricing elsewhere, I'm actually nervous about Google ever deciding to kill the heaviest users or charge more because I don't know where else I would go.

          In my understanding my 20TB isn't just 20TB sitting in their datacenter, it's de-duped across accounts. But still, amazing value.

          • the_svd_doctor 13 days ago

            Isn't it <= 1TB if less than 5 users ?

            • somehnguy 13 days ago

              Technically, yes. But it has never been enforced AFAIK. That could change tomorrow of course, so I would be cautious of using it for anything that is very important.

              • MiroF 13 days ago

                I suspect that posting about this on HN is one of the fastest routes towards getting this fixed, in terms of concentration of Google engineers likely to see your post.

                • somehnguy 13 days ago

                  Ha, that would be super unfortunate. But not too worried about that happening. It's been openly talked about online for years with no action.

                • the_svd_doctor 13 days ago

                  Ho! Very interesting. I always thought it was very much an active thing.

              • fomine3 12 days ago

                In my thought, anyway Google must hold data to support eDiscovery, so they remove capacity limit.

              • myth_drannon 13 days ago

                GSuite tech support is non-existent. I always had a prompt support from Dropbox

                • mav3rick 13 days ago

                  It's not. They are very prompt

                • _gtly 13 days ago

                  Synching with GDrive for me has been painfully slow. I thought it would be a drop-in replacement for Dropbox, but deleting files in particular seemed to take forever. Probably just some growing pains, but I've never experienced that with Dropbox.

                  EDIT Also I had an issue with my mac pinwheeling google's 'Backup and Sync' agent. It's fixed now after a couple months, but there was nowhere I could find to report the problem to Google.

                  • gyom 13 days ago

                    I have also had bad experiences with "Backup and Sync", which led me to abandon Google Drive right when I was seriously considering ditching Dropbox.

                    Given Google's reputation to ditch their own products, I guessed this was some side projects that some Googlers did, and it was never in Google's main strategy to allow people to sync their Google Drive to their local machines. Quite the opposite, actually.

                    My current gripe with Dropbox is that I'd like to basically be able to pay 4x the "Dropbox Plus" cost in order to get 4x the storage (without having to manage 4 separate accounts). Having 2TB isn't enough, but having "infinite" with Dropbox Business certainly is more than I want.

                  • wenc 13 days ago

                    I used the free tier of Dropbox for 8 years and decided to subscribe recently. $10/user/month [1] for Dropbox Plus. 2TB storage (more than enough for most people who aren't doing video-editing or have a video library -- I barely fill up my 250GB SSD as it is), a client that works well on Linux (and have for years), and not Google. I'd say I'm getting my money's worth.

                    I'm not really that tempted to use Google Drive.

                    [1] https://www.dropbox.com/buy?_tk=individual_hero_button

                    • mschuster91 13 days ago

                      No way I'd ever depend on Google for more than mail which I can reasonably back up. Not with the only meaningful way to get support from a live human is either knowing employees personally who can raise issues internally, involving the media or raise a shitstorm on Twitter/HN, and at the same time them having "AI" blackbox algorithms close down accounts with no recourse.

                    • toomim 13 days ago

                      Steve Jobs famously said "Dropbox is a feature; not a product."

                      Now Dropbox has become a product and we don't like it.

                      • thinkharderdev 13 days ago

                        I always found it somewhat amusing that people used to point to that quote by Jobs as a knock on him for being wrong. Lately it seems like he may have been right all along.

                        • johnchristopher 13 days ago

                          Or he has been wrong for a long time before others added that feature to their product.

                          • thinkharderdev 13 days ago

                            I take the original comment to be that file syncing will never be a product on it's own. The market for people who need file syncing on its own is small and it only really becomes useful for a large number of paying customers when it is something embedded into a more directly useful product (like GSuite or Office 365). And I think he's been largely right. It's common on HN for people to complain about how Dropbox was great when it did just one thing really well but they weren't a profitable company doing one thing really well. They always needed to create a broader product on top of file syncing in order to survive as a standalone business.

                            • johnchristopher 12 days ago

                              Well, I was under the impression/illusion that Dropbox was profitable long before that but it looks like https://www.engadget.com/dropbox-records-first-profit-ever-1... I was wrong.

                              > While many companies struggle through the pandemic, Dropbox seems to be doing well. In its first quarter, it brought in $455 million, an increase of 18 percent compared to the same period last year. According to Bloomberg, last quarter was the first time that Dropbox recorded net income since going public in 2018. In other words, it took a pandemic to make the company profitable.

                        • kinkrtyavimoodh 13 days ago

                          The subtext was of course that Apple would implement it on their phones for free but charge 30% for any competitors to do it for you.

                          For Apple, everything is either a feature or a product you can skim 30% of.

                          • jrott 13 days ago

                            At this point I think it was an amazing feature that became a mediocre product. I wish dropbox felt like they could make enough money just being the best in the world at syncing files.

                            • pkaye 13 days ago

                              Maybe those who now complain about it becoming a product didn't agree with Steve Jobs.

                              • sushid 13 days ago

                                I’m truly sick of seeing this quote every time we have a Dropbox post on HN.

                              • techsupporter 13 days ago

                                "While we started as a storage company, we‘ve grown to be a hub to manage your digital life."

                                I guess there's just no money in "very easy, super reliable, many device file sync."

                                • CamperBob2 13 days ago

                                  No, it turns out that people can just get an FTP account, mount it locally with curlftpfs, and then use SVN or CVS on the mounted filesystem. From Windows or Mac, this FTP account can then be accessed through built-in software. Nobody would pay for it.

                                  (except me, I guess)

                                  • Swizec 13 days ago

                                    Plenty of money in that. Look at how many startups and large tech cos are solving this problem under different skins. Everything from Notion to iCloud to Netflix remembering the timestamp you stopped falls under this broad umbrella problem.

                                    Imagine if you were the Stripe of multi-device sync. Sure maybe end users will never know your name but damn you’d be drowning in money.

                                    Like imagine adding multidevice sync to your product with a simple library instead of everyone cobbling it from scratch and hiring huge teams to make it reliable.

                                    • cure 13 days ago

                                      > to Netflix remembering the timestamp you stopped falls under this broad umbrella problem.

                                      Funny you give this as an example, that feature is completely unreliable for me. Netflix frequently forgets where I left off, and in the case of TV shows, which episodes I really did see all the way to the end, and which I didn't. Similarly on Prime Video, it's quite unreliable.

                                      • bryanrasmussen 13 days ago

                                        I'm pretty sure that every time Netflix thinks I did not see an episode all the way to the end it's because I skipped out just before credits, or just the second credits started, or I accidentally started over and then Netflix thinks I have that whole episode to watch.

                                        Aside from that it does seem that Netflix sometimes 'forgets' if I wait a long time to go back to something, in which case I suppose there can be some sort of cleanup going on. I mean sure I would want to keep these timestamps forever, but probably at a certain scale you want to get rid of old ones as much as it might annoy me.

                                        • ghusbands 13 days ago

                                          No, with both Netflix and Prime Video, if you cancel the skip-end-credits-to-next-episode (either intentionally or by configuration) and watch the credits and then close the browser, the next time you tell it to continue that series, it'll start from the start of the episode you've just watched. (At least when watching in Chrome on Windows over the past year.) Given that failure, it would be entirely unsurprising to see other bugs in the progress-tracking.

                                        • Swizec 13 days ago

                                          Distributed transactions are a notoriously difficult problem. Unsolvable in theory if I recall.

                                          So a company tht solved it well enough as a backbone tech could be quite valuable on the market

                                          • Closi 13 days ago

                                            I don’t think you can use that to infer that remembering when a user stops a video is an unsolvable problem.

                                            See: multiple ways to skin a cat

                                            • Dylan16807 13 days ago

                                              Unsolvable during a network partition, you mean? It doesn't matter if a streaming service can't update your position perfectly across multiple locations during something that breaks the internet.

                                          • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                            It's important to note that many of these companies are operating under different constraints than us.

                                            Bigger companies are able to reduce the price of storage based on it's value to other features.

                                            Some companies make storage cheaper by going through your data and/or selling it, this goes against our values and we won't do it.

                                            • twic 13 days ago

                                              That sounds like Firebase. Or what Firebase was once going to be.

                                          • azhenley 13 days ago

                                            There is one major feature I wish it had... version comparison. I wrote about it a little bit ago:

                                            "Hey Dropbox, why can't I compare file versions like this?" https://web.eecs.utk.edu/~azh/blog/whycanticomparefileversio...

                                            I do also wish it didn't lock up my entire computer whenever I make a big change to Selective Sync. I talked to a Dropbox PM after my blog post got some traction and he seemed surprised that this is still an issue.

                                            • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                              I'm not totally informed on this subject, but I do know our sync team is hiring :)

                                              • MatDef 13 days ago

                                                As someone who's asked for that feature for 5+ years now from everyone I've met there, it doesn't seem like there's much interest internally at Dropbox to implement it. I know it can't be easy to do, but it's such a killer feature IMO that would totally revolutionize workflows.

                                                • azhenley 13 days ago

                                                  I have wanted to build it, but a standalone tool (outside of Dropbox or another sync tool) would be really hard to integrate into workflows, I think.

                                                  • MatDef 13 days ago

                                                    Agreed. A long time ago, Perforce released a tool that they called Commons, it used OpenOffice under the covers to diff Office documents and display everything in a fairly easy to understand webUI. It wasn't perfect, but treating "documents as code" would scratch that itch that I've had with Dropbox since I've used it.

                                                    Just something I've learned to live without, at least for the foreseeable future.

                                                • nyanpasu64 13 days ago

                                                  https://github.com/vshih/CloudDiff works for text files. I don't know if it can be used for binary files, but it may be possible if you have an appropriate document diffing tool installed.

                                                  > Compare versions of your Dropbox or pCloud text files in-browser or with your configured diff tool.

                                                  • necrotic_comp 13 days ago

                                                    I remember this post. It would definitely be a great feature.

                                                  • abathur 13 days ago

                                                    I think Dropbox Paper is pretty nice, and it's only really been a fully-formed thing for a few years. :)

                                                    Caveat: I don't use any Dropbox desktop apps, and I think Paper is the only mobile app I use, so I may not notice/suffer feature creep the same way.

                                                  • mStreamTeam 13 days ago

                                                    I moved from Dropbox to SyncThing because of the feature creep

                                                    • conception 13 days ago

                                                      Pcloud has been pretty fantastic. Good features like encryption built in.

                                                      • Ericson2314 13 days ago

                                                        Even when it was a nice "do one simple thing" company, that thing was a bit of a square peg. The fact is that the hierarchical file system is a silly way of structuring data that doesn't meat people's needs.

                                                        I've never understood how Dropbox could be a sustainable business. All the walled gardens have legitimate UX and anti-competative / anti-interopt reasons to get away from files, and the actual core service Dropbox provides is quite commoditized.

                                                        • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                          Yep this is it. We need to provide more than just storage to succeed in the marketplace.

                                                          • Ericson2314 13 days ago

                                                            To be clear, I'm saying your in trouble either way:

                                                            - Just storage: it's commoditization so you have your own hardware and compete at that level

                                                            - Other stuff: Now you are alt GSuite. Google needs competition, not know you are fighting and N front war and your old users may not care.

                                                            Now VC usually tries to avoid competing head-on with FAANG, and the current situation was definitely inevitable, so quite confused why Dropbox got funded in the first place.

                                                            • reducesuffering 13 days ago

                                                              > so quite confused why Dropbox got funded in the first place

                                                              Because they're still worth 8 billion dollars now?

                                                      • Xavdidtheshadow 13 days ago

                                                        > While we started as a storage company, we‘ve grown to be a hub to manage your digital life.

                                                        This line from the linked post is a great summary of exactly how I think Dropbox's product direction has taken a turn for the worse.

                                                        This is no sleight against the author (who seems to be doing great work; I enjoyed this read!) or the engineering team. Just like, the general direction of the company. This line also stands out:

                                                        > it had been a while since we delivered new value to our personal users.

                                                        I can't speak for all paying users, but the value I derive from Dropbox is how it syncs fast and "just works". I do _not_ find new value in popups and notification badges about features that other companies have already perfected (much like I don't need to go anywhere else for file syncing).

                                                        I realize I'm not representative of the userbase as a whole, I'm just frustrated.

                                                        • stingraycharles 13 days ago

                                                          I would like to add that one of the reasons I’m a paying subscriber of Dropbox is because it’s independent of all the major other providers. Shared storage is a commodity provided by Microsoft and Google, and it’s important there is at least one major other provider.

                                                          Herein lies the problem, of course, as Dropbox is having trouble justifying their value-add when storage is becoming a commodity, and is obviously searching for a new angle. From what I’ve seen before, this is usually a precursor for more trouble down the road, but who knows. Regardless, it makes me feel that I’m not the target audience anymore.

                                                          • Zippogriff 13 days ago

                                                            > Herein lies the problem, of course, as Dropbox is having trouble justifying their value-add when storage is becoming a commodity, and is obviously searching for a new angle. From what I’ve seen before, this is usually a precursor for more trouble down the road, but who knows.

                                                            I think everyone outside knows where it's headed, and it's either enterprise-ware (clearly that's what they're aiming for, as they literally rebranded the whole thing to "Dropbox Business", it's right there on the home page) or slow death probably ending in an ignoble acquisition. Too much investment involved for them to just keep delivering the same service that made them a household name, taking a small and steady profit.

                                                            > Regardless, it makes me feel that I’m not the target audience anymore.

                                                            They're not all-but saying that, they are saying that, if you're a non-business user.

                                                            • hinkley 13 days ago

                                                              I wonder if we need to start treating failover systems more literally like insurance.

                                                              Your insurance company pays part of your premiums to another insurance company to cover them in the case of truly catastrophic events. It's called an underwriter. It's why State Farm didn't go under after Hurricane Andrew, despite the fact that State Farm had a wide majority of policies in the affected areas. They weren't just writing checks, they were cashing them too.

                                                              Instead of signing up for 3 different Clouds to make sure my data is safe, maybe my Cloud provider should be doing that for me. But that does nothing to address another concern (lock-in) and could very well make it worse, unless the "underwriter" also facilitates data transfer between clouds.

                                                              • yencabulator 12 days ago

                                                                They'll just build their own regions and AZs, instead. You'd only get that sort of service from someone who didn't build their own cloud.

                                                              • toyg 13 days ago

                                                                > Shared storage is a commodity provided by Microsoft and Google, and it’s important there is at least one major other provider.

                                                                They should talk to Mozilla. An OS-agnostic, ad-free, FAANG-independent cloud-hub integrated in the browser...? YES-fucking-PLEASE.

                                                                • coherentpony 13 days ago

                                                                  > I would like to add that one of the reasons I’m a paying subscriber of Dropbox is because it’s independent of all the major other providers.

                                                                  If I remember correctly, it's using Amazon in the backend. So how exactly is it that it is independent of all the other major providers?

                                                              • 8bitben 13 days ago

                                                                This is exactly how I feel as well. I just wanted a digital locker that I don't have to worry about. Now these new features on top of everything just feel like bloat to justify the higher price compared to similar services. I did not renew my Dropbox subscription this year.

                                                                • mseri 13 days ago

                                                                  What did you get instead? Did you find a good alternative?

                                                                  • SteveMoody73 13 days ago

                                                                    I'm using OneDrive, mainly because I'm paying for office anyway. I was a dropbox user for a long time but once they kept pushing features I had no interest in I decided to switch.

                                                                    • sushid 13 days ago

                                                                      To me that’s a bit ironic. You wanted a sync only product so you left Dropbox for... OneDrive and Office 365?

                                                                    • programmarchy 13 days ago

                                                                      Not GP, but iCloud Drive works great. $2.99/mo for 200GB.

                                                                      • Xavdidtheshadow 13 days ago

                                                                        I generally like iCloud, but afaik it doesn't have the API integrations that Dropbox does (one of it's clear strengths)

                                                                        • dingaling 13 days ago

                                                                          So Mr Jobs said file sync was a feature, yet Apple sell it as a product...

                                                                          • rv-de 13 days ago

                                                                            can you properly use iCloud Drive on Ubuntu and Android?

                                                                      • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                        We get it. The simple truth is we need to provide more than just storage to succeed in the marketplace. We rewrote our sync engine recently to make things much more performant and we're working on shipping more value to users with fewer upsells.

                                                                        https://dropbox.tech/infrastructure/rewriting-the-heart-of-o...

                                                                        FWIW you can turn off all the notifications in the preference panel.

                                                                        • sugarpile 13 days ago

                                                                          (this sounds snarky but is not, I'm genuinely asking)

                                                                          Which notifications option do I uncheck to stop from getting the popup asking me to upgrade to dropbox plus that I got this morning?

                                                                          • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                            Click the dropbox icon, click your avatar, preferences, notifications for most in app notifications.

                                                                            TBH the whole point of Basic is to be a trial sku so I don't know if you can turn those off. We do want you to become a paying customer :D

                                                                            • ProAm 13 days ago

                                                                              Call it Dropbox Trial edition then, not Basic.

                                                                          • tomc1985 13 days ago

                                                                            > we're working on shipping more value to users with fewer upsells.

                                                                            Glad to hear, though I really wish you guys had stayed as a storage company. You're not going to replace all the apps that I use Dropbox to bridge too, yet your apps seem to do their best to keep me in your ecosystem. Please stop that.

                                                                            • Zippogriff 13 days ago

                                                                              I think where that's a losing proposition for them is that other ecosystems are more tightly integrated and generally a better deal, if that's what people want. Apple user with more than one device of any sort? $2.99/mo for the lowest tier of iCloud storage is a no-brainer, and everything will work with it, nothing to install. All-in on Gsuite and doing everything in the browser/Android/Chrome? Duh. No question what you use. Windows/MSOffice? I haven't used it but I bet OneDrive is pretty nice and well-integrated on there. Certainly they don't stop spamming you about it.

                                                                              Those are what you pick if you want lock-in and bundled features. Dropbox and others are what you (used to) pick if you want to work cross-platform with a heavy focus on sharing real files, not tools. I think that's why the bundled tools strike so many as a bad idea: if we wanted that, there are more sensible options for it already. I get that they're kinda stuck trying it if they want/need huge growth, but it seems destined to fail, to me.

                                                                            • ci5er 13 days ago

                                                                              Are you the guy (person) to talk to about feature/functions/satisfaction?

                                                                              I've recommended or installed DropBox on over 200 SMBs over the last (close to a decade - I don't know how long specifically).

                                                                              There are things you do great. There are some things you used to do great (or OK) but stopped. There are some not-great things. Compared to Google Drive (Which I have to use for some clients) and Microsoft One Drive (Which I have to use for some clients) and Box.com (which I have to use for some clients), I would prefer it if DropBox would simply solve for my technical and business needs (and I don't think, as an engineer, that they are that hard - I mean some of them you already did and removed).

                                                                              I would love to talk. Please let me know if/how/when that could happen. If you are not interested, that is fine too. I am on the road for the next week-or-so, but just give me the sign, and I'd love to talk to you about your excellent core product.

                                                                              EDIT: Oh! Ha - My email address is in my profile.

                                                                              • Xavdidtheshadow 13 days ago

                                                                                I appreciate like. Like I said, y'all are doing a lot of great work and I do want to reiterate that I appreciate you posting and being here to answer questions.

                                                                                I just wish the need for constant growth wasn't the reality of tech companies in 2020.

                                                                                • notafraudster 13 days ago

                                                                                  How much would you have to charge me to make storage workable for you? I will pay it. I currently pay for Dropbox "Plus" (at least I think, I do not have the mental energy to follow rebrands or renames. I pay you money to sync my files, anyway).

                                                                                  Currently, I am wrestling with the fact that I just bought a new computer and the initial sync took 2 days for ~100GB stored (because there appeared to be per-file overhead and I have a lot of small files). I would not call this performant.

                                                                                  When this finally completed, I discovered that actually I had not downloaded all my files, because even though I turned Smart Sync off, Smart Sync is still invisibly turned on. I learned this when I went to prep for a meeting and my IDE hung for 8 minutes when one of my project folders had to Smart Sync in the background. Again, I have Smart Sync turned off.

                                                                                  What I learned was that in order to turn Smart Sync off, you should ignore the Smart Sync settings, and instead sign into Dropbox.com, click Settings, (again, ignore the setting on that page that says Smart Sync is turned off), and turn off "Dropbox System Extension", which is actually the setting that controls Smart Sync. Then reboot, sign into Dropbox again, and let it go through a sync cycle.

                                                                                  As far as I can tell this feature mostly benefits boomers who think cloud is magical infinite storage, at the expense of people who actually have enough storage and want to use Dropbox for what it was actually good at.

                                                                                  • stingraycharles 13 days ago

                                                                                    > How much would you have to charge me to make storage workable for you?

                                                                                    I think it’s not about the price you or I pay. It’s about living up to investors’ expectations. They don’t need to be “just profitable”, they need a massive cash cow and ride it out.

                                                                                    Storage is a commodity now, so no way to achieve it with that. They need more value-add, and apparently a “hub for your digital life” is what they decided it needs to be.

                                                                                  • notyourday 13 days ago

                                                                                    > We get it. The simple truth is we need to provide more than just storage to succeed in the marketplace.

                                                                                    In the marketplace or as a public company with a crazy market cap?

                                                                                    • nyanpasu64 13 days ago

                                                                                      Which notifications option do I uncheck to stop being nagged to pay for Dropbox if it's close to full?

                                                                                      • rikroots 13 days ago

                                                                                        I don't know the answer to that. But if the Dropbox guys are looking for feedback then it was this nag message which finally made me empty everything out of Dropbox and move it elsewhere. Even after emptying, the site continued to nag me for a good month afterwards.

                                                                                      • sarakayakomzin 13 days ago

                                                                                        >We get it. The simple truth is we need to provide more than just storage to succeed in the marketplace

                                                                                        ?

                                                                                        What period was not successful? Many of these poor changes are over a period of years.

                                                                                      • Zippogriff 13 days ago

                                                                                        You're not alone. Overwhelmingly the most common reaction when the topic of modern Dropbox comes up, among people who pay attention to it at all, is best summarized as "ugh". I think the only thing keeping people on it is inertia. It hasn't quite gotten annoying/bad enough to be worth the time to switch to something else, but the trend is clear and has shown no signs of reversing.

                                                                                        Even their rebranding to "Dropbox Business" everywhere basically says "individuals and solo/small business people, please do consider leaving, we aren't doing what we started out doing and aren't for you anymore".

                                                                                        • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                          When you get a chance give this post a read, we're investing in our personal users now more than ever. The features we've announced are just the beginning.

                                                                                          • Zippogriff 13 days ago

                                                                                            I believe that individual teams believe that, and I believe that some decision-makers are interested in doing enough to keep from losing those users too fast.

                                                                                            Looking at the home page, though, it's very clear where the focus is. The only link I can even find to the Plus option is in the footer and it's not even clear it's not a business plan (truly, why would any of the plans on a site that brands itself entirely as "Dropbox Business" not be business plans?

                                                                                            Someone who didn't know otherwise would assuredly bounce off the site having ascertained there are no personal plans. That has to have been a deliberate choice. I guess it could be some kind of grievous mistake to have somehow entirely failed to account for someone interested in an individual plan visiting "dropbox.com" to find it, except it fits with the rest of the publicly-visible moves coming out of Dropbox.

                                                                                            • systemvoltage 13 days ago

                                                                                              Despite of what you have to say, most people believe that Dropbox has degraded the "value" it provides to the user. Why is that? They've been pestered by notifications (which can be turned off), annoying upsells, features that no one cares about and the folder has now become super ugly - vaults, computer back and passwords (they should be in a dropbox services folder), constant barrage of messages on phones to share photos, no way to export multiple photos to iOS Photos app, etc.

                                                                                              Please respect the honest opinion from the users and try to work with them and show empathy. I am not seeing that.

                                                                                              • tekkk 13 days ago

                                                                                                Well if you want to compete with Google Drive you should probably look into starting an email service with good integration for file sharing. Don't know if you do it already but since I don't really log in to Dropbox daily and I do to Gmail, haven't really looked into it. And the Gmail + Drive combo works pretty well although I heavily dislike the Drive file user interface (why it can't be more like regular file system interface?)

                                                                                                I use Dropbox only because it's easy to edit/add files from the file system (and I don't like Microsoft or Google enough to give their services a chance).

                                                                                                • Grakel 13 days ago

                                                                                                  Roll Dropbox back five years, then send everybody in the office home, forever.

                                                                                              • pentae 13 days ago

                                                                                                Yep. Aside from the relentless onslaught of popups pushing you to a business plan have you ever noticed while using dropbox.com the UI is designed so that the "download" button is completely hidden from the user. Theres some incredibly weird product decisions going on over there.

                                                                                                • tomc1985 13 days ago

                                                                                                  The mobile apps also thinks your primary use case for "Share" is to send someone a dropbox link.... when I'm trying to post the file to Instagram

                                                                                                • Grakel 13 days ago

                                                                                                  Pretty sure you ARE representative. I'd love to see numbers on how few users actually use any of the other features. I'd actually pay more if Dropbox stopped with all the crap, all the way up to, and including the desktop app.

                                                                                                  • codazoda 13 days ago

                                                                                                    Just came here to say the same thing. I use Dropbox everyday and pay them my $10 and am happy with the service. I don't need anything other than a sync of the files I've selected.

                                                                                                    This update went unnoticed by me, which is a good thing in my mind. I rarely use the web interface.

                                                                                                  • civilized 13 days ago

                                                                                                    The only change I've noticed in Dropbox is it's getting less and less convenient to simply open the Dropbox folder in Finder. They really, really want me to use their fake file browser app thingy, which I loathe

                                                                                                    • mattgerstman 14 days ago

                                                                                                      Author here, happy to answer any questions about how we build products at Dropbox.

                                                                                                      • gustavomd 13 days ago

                                                                                                        Very well written and amazing job. I really trust Dropbox engineering teams. My only wish would be the return of the simple desktop app for those of us that just need ultra reliable synced folders (I use macOS). The app today is bloated and upon boot takes 600MB of RAM. Would you guys ever consider a streamlined version of the app for desktop?

                                                                                                        • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                          This is definitely something we're talking about. We're aware there are a set of users who want just sync and we're figuring out how to ship that while making our other features discoverable.

                                                                                                          • infogulch 13 days ago

                                                                                                            HN is a tough crowd to sell everyman software to. Compared to your moderately tech literate person off the street, many here fiercely stand their ground on the computing solutions that they choose. Maybe this is a consequence of knowing how the sausage is made.

                                                                                                            I admire your goal to try to deliver value to both groups. I think this strategy is broadly underappreciated, and I expect it improves the product faster than focusing on either group exclusively.

                                                                                                            • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                              Thanks so much. We love to share how we build things with the tech community and we know the tradeoffs when we post them.

                                                                                                              We're just a bunch of people doing our best to do right by our users.

                                                                                                            • T-hawk 13 days ago

                                                                                                              Please add my voice to that. I just want sync. Not a fat client constantly blaring about features for sharing and comments and teams, while not actually syncing my files thanks to "Smart Sync".

                                                                                                              My current Dropbox subscription term ends in February. At that time I currently plan to leave Dropbox in favor of a service that just does sync and no other garbage.

                                                                                                              • webmaven 13 days ago

                                                                                                                > This is definitely something we're talking about. We're aware there are a set of users who want just sync and we're figuring out how to ship that while making our other features discoverable.

                                                                                                                Excellent. I would go a bit further. I not only just want sync, but I'm willing to (mostly) give up the hosted mirroring in order to get unlimited user friendly device-device file synchronization[0]. On top of that, there are plenty of scenarios (largely around collaboration and/or mobile) where I would like to selectively opt-in to cloud mirroring, for which I'd be quite happy to pay a modest amount.

                                                                                                                So this folder of personal documents and ebooks[1] synced across these devices (potentially including another user's, if/when they are on the same local network) but no mirroring in the cloud, and that folder of photos synced only between my laptop and my phone, including cloud storage backup and mirroring ($).

                                                                                                                [0] Yes, I'm aware that there are plenty of solutions, starting with rsync etc., that I could cobble together, but most of them aren't particularly user-friendly.

                                                                                                                [1] BTW, have you thought of selling a Dropbox-centric e-reader?

                                                                                                                • solarkraft 13 days ago

                                                                                                                  Regarding [0]: Are you aware of Syncthing? It's p2p, allows you to select folders and exactly which devices they are shared with. I have personally had issues with it, but it seems like I'm the only one. The feature set seems to perfectly check out.

                                                                                                                  • webmaven 11 days ago

                                                                                                                    I was aware of Syncthing, but last I checked there were some caveats that made it unsuitable. Looking again now, it seems those have been largely addressed, although if I want a hosted mirror I'll still have to set one up myself, and it looks like each shared folder has to be set up and authenticated on each device (ie. there seems to be no notion of a "user" who chooses which of their devices have a copy).

                                                                                                                    I appreciate the nudge to look at it again, and at the very least this will stop me from having to pay attention to Dropbox's enforced case-insensitivity.

                                                                                                              • solarkraft 13 days ago

                                                                                                                > The app today is bloated and upon boot takes 600MB of RAM

                                                                                                                Is that a joke or a bug?

                                                                                                              • necrotic_comp 13 days ago

                                                                                                                No real question, but I do want to say thank you for writing and maintaining the daemon for Linux. I use Dropbox as, essentially, one disk shared across my many computers.

                                                                                                                This has been invaluable in keeping my life in order, and I'm a happy customer.

                                                                                                                • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                                  Thanks for the kind words. I'm not at all responsible for this, but I'll pass it on to our sync team.

                                                                                                                • abathur 13 days ago

                                                                                                                  I don't have time to absorb all of this right now, but I do still want to thank you for creating it. :)

                                                                                                                  I consider what I see as process/project blogging to be one of the Internet's unsung heroes, but a lot of it has a narrow focus. As someone who hasn't worked on a project with this many hands involved (outside of OSS, at least), it's nice to get a peek behind that curtain.

                                                                                                                  Looking forward to giving it a more careful read.

                                                                                                                  • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                                    Thanks so much! I had the realization recently that we don't talk a lot about what engineers do outside of writing code and the Plus launch was the perfect narrative to talk about it.

                                                                                                                  • radihuq 13 days ago

                                                                                                                    This was a great read, thanks for writing it up. As another person mentioned I especially liked and appreciated the bite-sized tips at the end! Definitely got some insight & inspiration I'll be using in my own projects

                                                                                                                  • mingw__ 13 days ago

                                                                                                                    Would love to hear more about API-QL. It doesn't sound like this is something available for public use yet. Is there any plan to open source this?

                                                                                                                    • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                                      API-QL is essentially a glue layer to make our internal interface, Stone, play nicely with Apollo. We might open source some pieces of it, but the vast majority of it is code generation for very specific Dropbox use cases.

                                                                                                                      https://github.com/dropbox/stone

                                                                                                                    • gee_totes 13 days ago

                                                                                                                      Definitely appreciated the tips at the bottom of the article. Did you use anything like Storybook to share the component library?

                                                                                                                      • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                                        We do use storybook! We have an internal design system called DIG that may eventually be shared more publicly. Each individual feature gets a "product component library" which is a way to rapidly build components on top of DIG.

                                                                                                                        • webmaven 13 days ago

                                                                                                                          > We have an internal design system called DIG that may eventually be shared more publicly.

                                                                                                                          DIG == Dropbox Interface Guide(lines)?

                                                                                                                      • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                                        Thanks so much for all the feedback! I'm signing off from answering comments.

                                                                                                                        • butz 13 days ago

                                                                                                                          Will Dropbox client for Linux get some attention? It would be great if .dropbox directories adhered to XDG directory specs.

                                                                                                                          • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                                            FWIW I've passed this note along to our sync team but I don't have a ton of insight here.

                                                                                                                          • s9w 13 days ago

                                                                                                                            Go scream at your boss. Dropbox has jumped the shark. Why am I getting red warning signs on my dropbox tray to advertise new features? I'm paying a shitton of money and using less than 1%. Take the money and just be silent. Dropbox is a tiny tool. I don't want to hear about it ever. _ever_

                                                                                                                          • huma 13 days ago

                                                                                                                            I wish Dropbox had a lite version which could just sync my files without having to install over 100 MB of useless bloat

                                                                                                                            • yyx 13 days ago

                                                                                                                              It's called syncthing.

                                                                                                                            • surlyadopter 13 days ago

                                                                                                                              I have been a long-time Dropbox+ (and now Dropbox Family) user. I don't mind so much that it is more expensive than the paid personal G/M offerings. It (usually) just works for me, however over the last year annoyances have crept in. Specifically the new File Explorer interface. It is incredibly slow and inefficient and I curse myself every time I open it instead of through the native Windows File Explorer. Hope that gets fixed soon. That annoyance alone is probably not enough to drive me to another service, assuming other features don't get degraded. Paying 200$ for a product that fights you is not something i plan on doing for a long time...

                                                                                                                              • eslaught 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                What stops you from using the normal Windows File Explorer? As far as I know the Dropbox replacement for Explorer is optional.

                                                                                                                                • surlyadopter 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                  Yes it is, but launching it from the system tray icon forces you to use their interface and it is a pain. Like I said, this specific issue is not a deal breaker, but if their other features take a turn for the worse the way this has then it would be time for a change.

                                                                                                                              • herf 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                I've been disappointed with CPU/battery usage recently. When adding a lot of photos, I have to plug in my laptop--otherwise the battery dies.

                                                                                                                                When uploading a 100MB file on a gen8 Thinkpad:

                                                                                                                                - Dropbox uses 6 minutes of CPU time, basically maxing out a core for the entire upload

                                                                                                                                - offsite scp uses <1 second of CPU, so scp is >100x more efficient than Dropbox

                                                                                                                                - In wall clock time, Dropbox is 4x slower.

                                                                                                                                I imagine their sync problem is very very hard, but but pushing bits up for a large file should be much more efficient.

                                                                                                                                • news_to_me 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                  Seeing a lot of negativity here re: "Dropbox should just sync files." Personally I'm stoked about Dropbox branching out to help with more aspects of digital organization, and I think they're well-positioned to do it. All that remains is whether or not they can execute that well.

                                                                                                                                  Good luck, Dropbox!

                                                                                                                                  • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                    Thanks so much! We're very excited about our roadmap.

                                                                                                                                  • trilinearnz 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                    I struggled to understand the relevance of Dropbox as soon as the alternatives of Google Drive and OneDrive came on the market with vastly more storage capacity.

                                                                                                                                    Is there a sizable market for people who require locally-stored content synchronised to the cloud (e.g. video editors?) Beyond that, the only people I encounter day-to-day who mention Dropbox are those not sufficiently tech-savvy to have known about the free alternatives mentioned above, and are still coasting on Dropbox's first mover awareness advantage.

                                                                                                                                    • rv-de 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                      I don't want to use Google and onedrive doesn't work seamlessly on Linux and Android.

                                                                                                                                      • sz4kerto 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                        What's your issue with OneDrive on Android? It has been working perfectly for me and for everyone around me for many years. Really fast sync, tight integration with the OS, and so on.

                                                                                                                                  • vertis 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                    I love some of the Dropbox features, but the thing that annoys me EVERY time I log into their website is that it wants to try and shove team plans in front of me.

                                                                                                                                    I actually logged in just before posting to check if it was still there and yep. Giant popup in the corner of the window[1].

                                                                                                                                    I have dismissed these types of notices multiple times. What I don't understand is WHY. Surely it can't be a good idea to harass every one of your individual users to become a business user.

                                                                                                                                    [1]: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hibz1zkohjnc2ly/Screen%20Shot%2020... (yes it did just sync that screenshot to Dropbox).

                                                                                                                                    • daveoc64 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                      I posted something similar a few months back[1] - since then, I have ditched Dropbox.

                                                                                                                                      I felt like they really weren't interested in me as a consumer.

                                                                                                                                      I have switched to OneDrive. I already had a subscription to Office 365 (Home), so I've not spent any extra. I can't complain so far. It actually feels like a consumer product.

                                                                                                                                      [1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23797065

                                                                                                                                    • kakuri 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                      What are the cases where Dropbox works well for people? Years ago I used to regularly have people tell me "my computer is slow, how do I fix it?" I look at their running programs, uninstall Dropbox, and their computer is no longer slow. I hoped maybe a combination of better resource usage by Dropbox and increasing computing power had alleviated that issue, but just the other day another person called me with slowdown issues and sure enough the culprit was Dropbox, which they had just installed.

                                                                                                                                      • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                        This should be substantially better since we shipped our new sync engine

                                                                                                                                        https://dropbox.tech/infrastructure/rewriting-the-heart-of-o...

                                                                                                                                        • gerardvivancos 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                          You might want to know that Dropbox Passwords hogs the CPU On windows if the browser is running but the Passwords native app is not. You will see high CPU usage from the Windows Delivery Optimization service, but the culprit is DBP whose extension is trying to contact with the host app in a loop, constantly spawning processes that die.

                                                                                                                                          • heeringa 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                            Thanks so much--nsm alerted us and we have a fix in the works--an update should be available presently.

                                                                                                                                            • nsm 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                              Thank you for this report. I've passed on the information to the right team and they are looking into it.

                                                                                                                                        • princevegeta89 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                          Why doesn't Dropbox have a middle ground solution between free and $15/month for 5TB?!

                                                                                                                                          I've been asking myself this question for a long time. Every other cloud storage provider has something like 100GB or 500GB for a nominal 3$ or 5$ per month. Dropbox works really great, but it's painstakingly frustrating that they their barrier to entry is too high that makes non-business users almost give up.

                                                                                                                                          • toyg 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                            Likely because profit-per-user falls off a cliff very rapidly under $10, due to increased support and admin costs and ballooning storage requirement. They would rather make $12.50 from 1 user than $0.50 from 25 users. Other players have different requirements (most of the value they get is into keeping people locked in their ecosystems).

                                                                                                                                          • ghego1 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                            My two cents, thanks for the developers, Dropbox works perfectly and it's hands down the best place to store one's digital life.

                                                                                                                                            I am a paying gsuite user, and nevertheless I pay for Dropbox because Google is not even close to where Dropbox is in this area. How to verify this: try to resync every couple of minutes a file of 500mb or more with only few changes on Drive with the sync client, then do the same with Dropbox. Delta syncing in Dropbox is still unbeaten, even by those that claim they have it (Google doesn't to my best knowledge, I think Microsoft introduced it a while ago, but doesn't work as good, try the same test).

                                                                                                                                            • Dirlewanger 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                              Ditch Dropbox, use something like Syncthing https://syncthing.net/

                                                                                                                                              • password4321 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                                If this is the place to share feature requests, I would like to be able to find the largest files in my Dropbox using the web interface.

                                                                                                                                                • mirrormaster 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                                  Which user asked for a password manager!? When will these companies do real market research

                                                                                                                                                  • solarkraft 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                                    > Which user asked for a password manager!?

                                                                                                                                                    Likely not many, but that's likely at least partly due to a lack of exposure: The market is still severely under-saturated - Everyone should have one, but not that many non-techies do. Thus if you're in a position to make someone try your password manager that may be a serious advantage.

                                                                                                                                                    • juandazapata 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                                      I blame the stock market and its unrealistic expectations of infinite growth.

                                                                                                                                                    • tomc1985 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                                      Are there any other sync services that can handle large git repos without choking?

                                                                                                                                                      It's been a few years since I last checked but when I did Dropbox was the only one that didn't choke

                                                                                                                                                      • mattgerstman 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                                        Honestly just use GitHub. My (high level) understanding of sync is file system issues file event for every file change, we receive it, determine if its relevant, and then make the appropriate delta. You can imagine with thousands (or millions) of small files this becomes nearly impossible to manage with an OS integrated sync engine.

                                                                                                                                                        • tomc1985 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                                          Indeed, and I do/did, but I was in an environment where I would switch quickly between a laptop and a desktop, and Dropbox sync worked extremely well for quickly switching between the same codebase on multiple computers, even with our large, half-a-decade git repo

                                                                                                                                                          • Zippogriff 13 days ago

                                                                                                                                                            You can put the .git directory outside the working directory. Might be helpful. Sync the working dir with a sync service, but the .git dir with... git.