I’m a big fan of Dropbox, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the easiest to use of the various cloud storage services I subscribe to. That said, if I could find a way to make it work better for me, I’d probably use it a lot more.
Spotdox extends the functionality of Dropbox, giving it that extra oomph and making it work just that little bit better. Putting all of your files in your browser so you can upload anything to Dropbox at anytime, Spotdox wants to make Dropbox go the extra mile. Will a little extra access make me love Dropbox more and turn Spotdox into a winner?
Making Dropbox Better
Spotdox is a tiny little app that runs from your menu bar or Dock. You won’t really even notice it on your Mac, and the app itself doesn’t do a whole lot. You won’t use it to browse Dropbox or access your files or anything like that. You will need to have it running at all times, though, so make sure you keep it open.
You’ll use Spotdox to access your Mac’s files from your browser, but it doesn’t just have to be your Dropbox files. When you launch Spotdox for the first time, it will ask for authorization to connect to your Dropbox account, and each time I tried to use Spotdox, I let Dropbox know it was okay to connect up. When Spotdox is connected to Dropbox, the menu bar icon will glow blue.
The app will connect you to Spotdox’s website in your browser. Pretty much all of the files from your Mac will be viewable in your browser on the Spotdox website, and your Spotbox homepage will have links to the contents of what are likely to be the most used folders on your Mac. You’ll see your Home folder, Hard Disk, and Documents, Downloads, and Desktop.
Click on any one of those to see its contents. You won’t be able to interact with your files on the Spotdox website in the same way that you could in Finder, and that’s probably a good thing for security reasons. What Spotdox does is show you what files are where and get file previews. You can get a little more information, too, like file size, extension, when it was last updated, and a few notes, like the dimensions of an image.
You can’t move your files around or delete them, but what you can do is add a file to Dropbox that isn’t currently in there. Once I got my head wrapped around what Spotdox actually does (and doesn’t) do, I was sort of blown away. Forgot to add some files to Dropbox, but now you’re on a different machine and really need them? Spotdox can help. Remembered to shift your files to Dropbox, but you did something foolish and interrupted the upload? Spotdox to the rescue!
But What Is It?
What Spotdox won’t do is move files from your Downloads folder to your Documents or allow you to delete or edit anything on your computer. Which is great. Unless you’ve got a good reason (and there are good reasons, don’t get me wrong) you don’t want to just log on to some website and start messing around in your actual files on your actual computer. That’s weird and a little bit scary, again unless of course you have a good reason for doing it, know what you’re up to, and trust the company accessing your data.
That’s not what you’re doing here. Instead, you’re uploading the file to Dropbox, in a special Spotdox folder. The file isn’t actually getting copied to your Dropbox folder, and it won’t get moved there until you sync with Dropbox. Once you’ve got the file into Dropbox from the Spotdox website, you can download it to another computer via Dropbox or share it with colleagues.
If your Dropbox account gets filled up from all the uploading you’re doing, no worries. Spotdox can access all of your Dropbox files and send them to your Downloads folder if you want. This allows you to add files, like images or videos, to Dropbox away from your computer and send them to your main machine, bypassing the need to email stuff to yourself.
Security and Final Thoughts
I was concerned about security issues with something like Spotdox looking at all of my files, and if security concerns are a dealbreaker for you, I don’t really blame you. But it’s maybe not as bad as it could be. Spotdox is only looking at thumbnails, previews, and your file structure. Yes, that is a lot of information, and if you have credit card numbers or passwords in a text file, that’s probably going to be visible in a preview, and that preview image exists somewhere on Spotdox’s servers. They assure users they get rid of everything after about ten minutes, though, so your stuff isn’t hanging around indefinitely, and any file transfers you initiate are handled by Dropbox, not Spotdox.
If you’ve ever made it away from home and realized you’d forgotten to email that very important file, Spotdox can be a huge help. The caveats to that are that you’ll need to have both your computer and Spotdox running, but if you can manage that, it’s a great little productivity booster, especially if you rely on Dropbox to get your stuff done.