When it comes to cloud computing, there are two services that everyone knows, and nearly everyone uses. Dropbox hit the scene in 2007 and in recent years has become wildly popular among individuals and companies because of its storage and easy file-sharing capabilities. But it can be used for much more than that.
Evernote was released in 2008 and it too has become popular among many individuals and companies, mainly because of its powerful, yet simple, note creation capabilities.
While the two services have a few similarities, and they are often grouped together in mentions of cloud services, they are both used in extremely different ways. You can think about Evernote as sticky notes posted all over your desk, while Dropbox is more like the floor-to-ceiling stack of (neatly organized) filing cabinets in your office.
In this article, we will look at the differences between Evernote and Dropbox, as well as some common (and not so common) ways that the two services are used. This should be an interesting journey, let’s get started with Evernote.
Evernote allows users to create notes or upload documents. These files are all stored in a special proprietary Evernote format, even if you uploaded a MS Word file, PDF, or other type of document. Once a document is sent or created in Evernote, it becomes an Evernote “note.” But a note is so much more than it sounds. Notes can have photos attached, and the Evernote smartphone app has a feature that allows your phone to take photos and automatically uploads the pics to Evernote. Audio clips can be recorded and saved directly from your phone as well.
Evernote has the ability to be accessed from any type of device such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Evernote has an app for iPhones and iPads, as well as an app for Android smartphones and tablets.
Keywords, or tags, can be added to any note, photo, audio clip, etc. These tags allow easy searching of files. Evernote can search within notes for text, even handwritten notes.
Emails can be sent directly to Evernote where they can be tagged and stored as notes. Tweets can be saved as notes as well.
Here are just a few of the ways Evernote can be used to bring about more organization, speed and efficiency to your life or business:
- Web Clipping: One of the most popular features of Evernote is the ability to “clip” snippets of web pages and save them to Evernote. Once you install the Web Clipper to your browser, a small Evernote icon will appear close to your address bar. When it is pressed, it will save the current web page. It is then stored in Evernote and can be easily searched at a later time.
- Business Card Storage: If you deal with a lot of clients, business contacts and other sources, and find yourself becoming overwhelmed with business cards; simply scan them onto a computer, upload them to Evernote, and get rid of the paper copy. Now you have an online, and much better organized, business contact solution. You can tag the business cards for simple searching, and it can be accessed from anywhere.
- Cookbook: By storing your favorite recipes, Evernote can become your cookbook. Whether you save recipes you created or snag them off the internet, you can create an unlimited sized cookbook that’s always at your fingertips.
- Instruction Manuals: This is an extremely handy feature for people that use (and often lose) instruction manuals. By keeping a notebook with all of your instruction manuals in it, they are always just a few clicks (or taps) away. And again- they can be easily searched so you waste no time digging through drawers or boxes of paperwork to find that specific manual that you never thought you would need again.
The free version of Evernote has a monthly limit on the amount of data that can be uploaded, although there does not seem to be a limit on how much can be uploaded overall. The premium version is well worth the $5.00 monthly charge as users can upload around 1GB of data per month, add a PIN lock to their app, offline access to notebooks, faster image recognition, collaboration on documents, ad-free, and more.
As I mentioned above, Dropbox is like a large filing cabinet. Inside this filing cabinet you can have many folders. Inside these folders you can have subfolders, files, documents, and other data. However, as with a large filing cabinet, you can just throw all your files together in one area or you can neatly organize them in folders so you can easily find them at a later time.
One of the features that makes Dropbox so preferable for users is the ability to share large files. File sizes are only limited by how much space you have available in your Dropbox folder. If you have 5GB available in your Dropbox folder, you can upload a single file that is 5GB or a bunch of smaller files until the 5GB limit is reached. Dropbox has several different plans available for users that need large amounts of space.
Worried about security? Dropbox uses encryption such as SSL and AES-256 bit encryption to transfer and store your files. All files stored online by Dropbox are encrypted and kept securely on Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) in multiple data centers located across the United States. Dropbox offers two-step authentication which means even if a hacker finds your password, or even if someone steals your laptop, they still cannot access your account without access to your mobile phone. Dropbox also offers the option of Time-based one-time password apps.
Here are a few of the ways Dropbox can be used to make life easier at home or at work:
- Make Dropbox your official “My Documents” folder: By using Dropbox as your “My Documents” folder, all documents will be saved to Dropbox. This saves you space, and allows easy searching through the documents at a later time.
You can easily do this in Windows XP, Windows 7 or Vista. Right-click on your current “My Documents” folder and select Properties. Click on the Location tab and enter the location of your Dropbox folder you wish to use as the new “My Documents” folder. In Windows XP, you will have to change the Target value. Now you have successfully moved your “My Documents” folder to the cloud!
- Sync apps, setting, passwords on all your computers: This is a handy way to keep all your applications, settings and passwords from being lost if corruption occurs, your laptop get stolen, or if a virus or other hardware malfunction forces you to reformat a device. You can use portable apps which keep all their settings stored in one folder and makes it easy to sync through Dropbox. But settings of normal apps can be synced as well- such as backups of MS Office settings, game profiles, browser profiles, and more.
- Music Library: You can create your own music library in the cloud! By using Dropbox to sync your music collection to the cloud, it can then be accessed by a web player such as DropTunes or a smartphone app like BoxyTunes.
- Photo Library: Storing photos on Dropbox is a great way to create a memorable photo album complete with as many photos as you want. This can also help you save space on your computer, laptop, tablet or phone by uploading all your photos to the cloud where they can still be accessed from anywhere without taking up any
- Web Site or Start Page for browser: By using simple HTML, you can create a customized start page for your browser. The process is very simple- create the start page, save it to your Public folder, and use the public URL from the Dropbox context menu to set as the home page in your browser settings. Want to host your own web site? Create the web site, store it in your public folder, and use the public URL to browse the site.
Dropbox offers 2GB of storage for free users but has upgrade plans of up to 500GB. Users also have the option of purchasing the Packrat plan, which allows unlimited restoration of files so you never have to worry about accidentally deleting important files.
Use Evernote and Dropbox together for maximum efficiency and organization.
Evernote is like a handy little notebook that’s always in your pocket. Dropbox is a powerful file system that’s also right there in your pocket. This gives you many options.
You can use Evernote to take notes, store photos, record audio clips, and it has incredible searching capabilities. Dropbox is used to handle bigger, bulkier files – videos, music, applications, PDF files, DOC files – although, as noted above, it can be used to create libraries of photos and organized “filing” of documents as well. So Evernote can grab notes, photos, audio, and web clippings directly from the web which can then be used to create databases in Dropbox. There are even third-party cloud services that allow Evernote and Dropbox to be synced together which creates an even more powerful array of tools at your fingertips. The possibilities are only limited by your creativity and imagination.