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Dropbox Founder Wants To Build the Next Google 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-crackin dept.
ColdWetDog writes "The Dropbox file storage and synchronization service has managed to attract 50 million users and $250 million in venture capital. The founder of Dropbox, Drew Houston, says he is determined to build the next Google or Apple, not to sell out to them. Even for a guy whose paper valuation is around $600 million, it seems like the best he could hope for is another Facebook-level company — file storage isn't that sexy. I wish him luck in his bid to remain independent. I'd rather see Dropbox remain fairly agnostic with regard to other Internet services."
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Dropbox Founder Wants To Build the Next Google

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  • by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:19PM (#38701994) Homepage

    SpiderOak is a heck of a lot better (and unlike dropbox is actually secure). Of course with additional features it is a little more complex but that can be easily solved in time.

  • by Shikaku (1129753) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:21PM (#38702016)

    You're free to use Dropbox with Truecrypt you know. The initial upload will be huge if you make it use up all your space but syncing will be fast afterwards.

  • Re:Tough sell (Score:5, Informative)

    by Solandri (704621) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:43PM (#38702202)
    Dropbox just resells Amazon's S3 storage service [dropbox.com]. They have a slicker interface, but the heavy lifting is all done by Amazon.
  • by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:47PM (#38702232) Homepage

    Much more flexibility regarding what is synced (I don't need a dropbox directory, I can pick and choose directories or even individual files on each machine to be synced).
    Your solution to security is fine, except I want to be able to access my data on windows, linux, osx, android, and ios. It is also just easier to know everything is encrypted rather than needing to mentally track what should be as well as have to worry about opening sparsebundles (or opening truecrypt volumes, etc).

  • by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:43PM (#38702614) Homepage

    They don't use client side encryption, and can decrypt your data on their side if they so choose. Almost a year or so ago, they had a couple of hours where (due to a botched code deployment on their side) anyone could log into any dropbox account using any password. The fact that they CAN decrypt your data (in addition to apparently having very bad testing procedures internally) means that someday they may decide to follow Google and Facebook's model and troll it for information for targeted advertising, selling to whomever, etc.

    They claim their employees need to be able to have access to your unencrypted data to comply with government regulations but this does not pass the smell test at all. SpiderOak and Wuala both use client side encryption and do not have access to your data.

  • Re:Tough sell (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) * on Saturday January 14, 2012 @10:04PM (#38702744)

    You can't escape an agenda, but a company could be run that sold services directly to customers, with a contract forbidding advertising / any sale of personal data. Their agenda could be to make money by selling you a service and not selling you out.

    Actually if the idea is to make money directly from its users, that's fine and dandy. Beyond that, any plans to sell my data or even the fact that that I have data is out of the box a non-starter for me.

    The fact that Drop Box can break the encryption any time they want/need is pretty much a non-starter as far as I am concerned. The fact that they lied about it initially is another black mark. At least Google tells you right up front exactly what they can and will do with the content of your email.

    SpiderOak [spideroak.com] promotes zero knowledge storage. They have no way to break the encryption and couldn't do so in response to a subpoena if they wanted to. Windows, Mac, Android, Linux. And their fees are half of what Drop Box wants. In addition it can keep iterations of your data if you wish, so you can roll back those changes in your spread sheet one by one.

    I just don't see what Drop Box has to offer in regard the topic of this post, Without breaking its basic promise to keep your data private, they have nothing to sell other than space. You won't get to be of Apple's size or Google's omnipresence just supplying disk space that can be had by government agencies without even going for a warrant.

    If they want to convince me, change their system to a zero knowledge system in which they can't hand over the keys to anyone because they don't have them. They need to pick up the tab from the mobile carriers for data syncing mobile devices. Trying to build a cloud storage empire that gets shared with police is not likely to be all that successful in the age of data caps.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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