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Goodbye Dropbox, hello Box?

Version 4 of the Box Sync software purportedly resolves the sub folder sync issue and Box has deleted all incriminating support threads. I haven’t tested to ensure this is fixed, but they claim it is.

*Update 1/14/13* Due to a single and incredibly important feature gap in the Box offering, I have to recommend staying with Dropbox as of this writing. Incomprehensibly, Box does not currently support sub folder syncing via the desktop sync client, only top level folders. This means that any nested folders with content changes or creation will not be synced across your desktop clients. This also means that there is no selective/ targeted folder sync which is particularly useful for enterprise deployments who do not wish to sync GBs or TBs of top level data across hundreds or thousands of user desktops. I made the mistake, as did many others, that Box would support sub folder syncing, because, how could they not! Box reps message in a lengthy and frustrated customer support thread that this feature will be coming sometime in the first HALF of 2013, even though customers have been asking for this for over a year. Unacceptable and I'm not willing to wait. If and when Box finally gets their act together I'll reconsider their value proposition, but for now, I'm going back to Dropbox who have supported this feature since the days of beta. Box support thread. 

Box.com just got closer than ever to really competing head on with Dropbox for the free user. Box Sync, now available for free users, fills in a very large gap that previously prevented Box users from enjoying the full desktop to cloud experience. Box Sync provides the ability to sync your top-level only cloud-based files with a local directory structure on your PC, in a mostly similar the same manner as Dropbox. Box starts free users at 5GB vs Dropbox’s 2GB but if you are lucky enough to participate in one of Box’s numerous Android or IOS campaigns, you can grab a 50GB free account fairly easily. Dropbox rides on top of Amazon’s S3 service while Box runs its own infrastructure. There’s a lot to like about Box and now with Box Sync available, is it time to make a switch? Not until they fix their sub-folder sync issue, no.
I’ve been a loyal Dropbox user for a very long time now. Even though upload speeds can be temperamental, features are some what sparse, security has been a problem, and the service can be sketchy at times, it’s still a fantastic cloud storage platform that I use daily. Just like Dropbox, Box Sync requires a local install on your PC. Once installed, you will see the Box icon in your system tray, with a familiar right-click interface list of commands. The Box solution gives you many more options including a dedicated local recycle bin, the ability to force up or downloads, enable debug logging, as well as the ability to view and save the logs! Speaking as a professional technologist this is fantastic and much more in line with a true enterprise platform! 

 
The local client itself offers only a few options with most of the behind the scenes work happening online, as is the case with Dropbox.
 
You can rate limit up or download speeds and auto-sync everything. Also, unlike Dropbox, Box properly includes an auto-updating mechanism to keep Sync up to date. The lack of this feature in Dropbox really puzzles me.
Box also provides more granular sharing and security controls on the cloud side. Any folder or file anywhere in the hierarchy can be shared and customized for collaboration. Links can be left wide open, set to preview only with no download, or collaborators can be expressly invited and allowed. Passwords and link expiration are features available only in a paid plan.

You can also selectively sync any file or folder, initiate bulk uploads, plus a number of other things.

*Update 12/15/12*
Box just increased the file sizes for personal users to 250MB.

So far, Box looks great now! 50GB (if you’re clever), local to cloud sync, granular controls, enterprise-built platform…what’s missing? As it turns out, only file size limitations. Free accounts on Box are limited to 100MB 250MB per file and 10GB shared link bandwidth per month where Dropbox does not have these limitations.

 
Files not allowed to sync to the cloud are marked with an orange bubble (now anything >250MB).
Dropbox also has a superior mechanism for handling deleted files.  Dropbox keeps deleted files available for restoration up to 30 days versus Box's meager 14. Dropbox also provides the ability to view and restore the deleted files/ folders as they existed originally in your folder hierarchy. Box uses a consolidated online trash can and requires that you perform any restorations from it. Both methods arrive at the same place ultimately, so it’s a question of which approach do you like better.
I think I've seen enough, with more space than I could ever hope to reach in Dropbox, Box has me ready to jump ship. Unless your folder structure consists of top level folders only, I cannot recommend switching to Box at this time. Yes they offer a significant amount of storage over Dropbox but the lack of support for sub-folder syncing is a deal breaker for me. As always, if you want to try out Dropbox with a larger than default account, use my referral: http://db.tt/ISx8N0LF.
Cheers, :-)
Box vs Dropbox

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