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Dropbox Founder Wants To Build the Next Google 165

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 decora ( 1710862 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:18PM (#38701984) Journal

    having spiders crawling over the private data of tens of millions of people could be incredibly lucrative. not only to sell to businesses, but to sell to the various governments of the world who are interested in spying on people. every year the governments of earth spend billions collecting and gathering data on people to analyze 'security threats'.

    now, that data is being collected for them. facebook is a good start, but it's mostly just trivial personal stuff. here, at a file storage site, we have the big fish. spreadsheets from companies, investigation reports from corporate analysts, stock trading information, debt trading information, etc etc etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:42PM (#38702188)
    A little paranoid? He's not wrong.

    Check out Kinects terms of service, and what they can do - by default, you agree to let them use pictures taken by the device of you using it in advertising. This is a CAMERA IN YOUR TV WATCHING YOU USE IT.

    Smartphones... Were you around for the CarrierIQ debacle? Independent auditing of the code in these portable, always on, always connected devices just isn't going to happen, and even if there are people with morals inside the companies making these devices its not going to be hard for the bad guys to sneak a back door into millions of lines of code. And on a whole other level they're trying to sneak back doors into cryptographic standards(I forget the details, use google, this stuff is all out there)

    Now we're being asked to rely on companies giving us access to great big machines in the sky - to trust that these companies aren't watching and recording every single action, that those actions aren't being analysed and aggregated, and most importantly of all - they won't ditch you like a hot potato and leave you high and dry when you find something so wrong you can't walk away from it. Look how all those companies ditched wikileaks.

    Secret FISA requests? Indefinite detention? This guy isn't paranoid - thats the fucking scary thing.
  • Re:Tough sell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:50PM (#38702244)

    "Dropbox just resells Amazon's S3 storage service. They have a slicker interface, but the heavy lifting is all done by Amazon."

    Which is a very clever side of the Amazon's bussiness case.

    Amazon surely bills a little bazillion to the likes of Dropbox or Netflix, so as long as the "new thing" happens to deal with them, the more successful they are, the more money ends up in Amazon's accounts.

    But then, for each Netflix there are a thousand of wannabies that all will do is losing their shirts -but even them will move part of their money to Amazon's accounts.

    So the end result is that Amazon wins always without taking the risks.

    Very clever indeed.

  • Business model? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:53PM (#38702264) Homepage Journal
    I'm a Wuala user myself, so perhaps I've overlooked something - but how does Dropbox hope to earn money? By selling additional disk space or turning the free accounts into paid ones once people begin to rely on them?
  • by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:54PM (#38702268)

    As I recall, google actually had a hard time getting investors early on because no one thought there was any more money in search. It was seen as a mundane, solved problem.

  • Re:Tough sell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:17PM (#38702438)
    why vendors obsession is in it is obvious. for every person like you who would rather give money than information, there are roughly 1,000 people who would gladly let everything about themselves leak out to the public rather then spend $5 a year. Every privacy fiasco done on facebook/google or any other site has had little to no impact on the number of people subscribing, and usually loses less than 1% of the current subscribers even for the big issues. Now look at how many people went into an extreme panic when the fake rumors of facebook charging money sent all of it's users into a mass panic. I would bet that if facebook charged say 15 a year, within 3 months they would become myspace and G+ would become facebook.
  • Re:Tough sell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vakuona ( 788200 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @10:37PM (#38702934)

    I don't think that's what the founder meant when he said he wants to be the next Google. It looks like he means to establish a successful company that stands alone, rather than selling out to the highest bidder.

    However, I think they do have a tough sell. As Steve Jobs put it, they don't have a product, they have a feature. Once could storage is built into every device you can buy, and that storage is not drop box, they cease to be relevant.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall