Hey Dropbox, what about this?

I’m extremely fond of Dropbox. If you don’t know it yet: it’s cloud storage made extremely easy. You get 2GB free, and more on a subscription basis. You’ll want to use once you’ve tried. They’ve also got a very seductive marketing tool: you get 250MB extra for each new customer you invite. So if you want to try Dropbox, this is the best link to use, because it adds them to my account. It’s not like they’ve got me hooked on that or so.

I’m missing a feature though: I want to be able to download files from somewhere directly into my Dropbox (or Skydrive, or other cloud storage). Reason number one is my DSL line: 6MBit down, His Trickling Snailness up. To get something into the box, I need to first download it and then wait for quite a time until it’s up. It would be so much greater if I could just instruct some cloud service to get the file at that URL and directly shove it into the box, and then have it downloaded onto my computer when it syncs.

Reason number two is that I might want to download stuff, but not on the computer or phone I’m on. For example, when I’m at work. When I’m using my phone. Or when I use my laptop on 3G. What I currently do is drop the URL into Evernote – not bad either, but I’d like it better to just have the file downloaded immediately, and then receive it when I’m on a fast and cheap network.

So what do we need?

  • A server app that you pass a URL and your DropBox account. It downloads the file and uploads it to Dropbox.
  • For more convenience, a client app that can store your credentials, and that can sit in the tray, watch the clipboard, or be a Firefox extension.

I don’t know if I’d do an iPhone app – it should be OK when the web app lends itself to that form factor.

And it would be good for Dropbox too. They just loose money on people like me (I’ve currently got about 500MB in the box). They’d be much happier if I got above my limit for the free account – and I would absolutely pay the 10$ per month. The easier it is for me to get stuff into the box, the easier I’d be tempted to reach the critical limit between free and paid.

UPDATE: Dropbox have done The Smart Thing for feature requests and let you vote for your favorite feature. If you like the idea, please vote here:


Christian is a software architect/developer. He lives in Germany, reads a lot, and likes cycling.

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Posted in Tools

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