Drop.io, an online file-sharing, storage and collaboration tool, is very flexible.
I’ve been using Drop.io for almost a year as a project site and repository for various projects. No doubt many of you are doing the same.
But what other ways can you make use of Drop.io?
Here are 10 creative ways to use Drop.io:
- Memo pad when on the road
- Record audio podcasts from anywhere
- Let visitors add audio comments on your blog
- Let users add files from your site
- Create an online store
- Store, send and share photos from your mobile device
- Extra harddrive for a netbook or Linux system
- Conference and symposium resources
- View photo slideshows on your TV
- Project Sites
- Collect Design Inspiration
- Backup Your Website and Blog (Updated 09/15/2009)
1. Memo Pad When on the Road
Great ideas can strike when you least expect them.
Question: What happens when you need to make a note for later and you’re driving or don’t have access to paper?
Answer: Leave yourself an audio message on your drop that can be easily retrieved from any computer.
How It Works
Each Drop.io drop comes with its very own voicemail number and extension.
- Create a drop for your memos
- Add your drop’s voicemail number and extension (found in the sidebar on your drop) to your cellphone
- Call the drop’s number, enter your extension and leave yourself a message
All audio left through the drop’s voicemail number will be automatically converted to an MP3 and placed as a file in your drop.
To make this even easier, add your drop’s phone number, then add a pause (usually ‘p‘) and then enter the extension, followed by the # symbol.
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2. Record Audio Podcasts From Anywhere
You could also use this technique for making podcasts on the go from anywhere. Just call your voicemail, and talk away.
With a 100MB drop, you can record loads of audio in MP3 format (~400 mins of talk).
3. New Blog Commenting System
Want to set your blog apart? Instead of just providing visitors with text comments, give them the voicemail number of your drop and allow them to leave actual voice comments for you.
Approved comments could then be linked to from your drop and placed on your blog.
Audio comments might be fitting to use on multimedia sites, or blogs that accompany podcasts.
Radio stations or individual radio shows could let listeners phone in and record their song requests.
4. Let Users Add Files Right From Your Site
Drop.io also comes with a widget / code snippet (found under Add > More) that can be added to just about any site; allowing site visitors to upload files to your drop through your website.
This could be handy for people running a photo or music site. This could also be used to let clients add files to your drop without having to log into Drop.io.
How about teachers? Let your students upload their assignments/essays/homework via a website and the Drop.io widget.
There are lots of things this feature could be used for, so use your imagination.
5. Create an Online Store
Drop.io also contains PayWall–allowing you to charge people for access to your content.
This makes setting up an online store pretty easy.
Want to set up paid subscriptions for your podcast or blog? Want to sell a one-time item? All of this is simple with Drop.io.
6. Store, Send and Share Photos From Your Mobile Device
Since Drop.io gives each drop its own email address, you can send, store and share photos from a mobile device like your cellphone, iPhone, PDA or netbook.
Drop.io’s email system works similar to Posterous–attach images to an email, send it to your drop’s email address, and Drop.io pulls out the images and adds them to your drop.
Note: Any text that’s included in the email is added to each image as a comment.
Imagine working with a team–snap some pictures, email them to only one address (the drop’s), and everyone subscribed to your drop can view them in Drop.io–even Gary, who doesn’t have an iPhone yet.
7. Extra HardDrive For a Netbook or Linux
Even though most netbooks are coming with more generous harddrive space these days, having an extra bit of storage space never hurt anyone.
Drop.io has a Firefox extension that lets you add files and photos to your drop just by dragging them into your browser window.
Using this extension, it’s possible to save images and files directly to your drop without saving them to your computer first.
This would make adding files from any netbook simple as pie.
Drop.io FUSE is a project for mounting a drop as a usable drive space in Linux (or other UNIX-based OS).
It’s still in early development, but looks very promising.
8. Conference and Symposium Resources
This idea’s from the Drop.io API Google Group.
This can also be easily applied to conference/symposium material distribution, possibly using location. For example, a presenter can direct the audience to the app where they have full access to notes, media, etc. Additionally, the conference itself can have geo-fenced material for attendees.
9. View Photo Slideshows on TV
Drop.io handles viewing photos from within your drop decently enough. However, you can’t view your photos as a slideshow within Drop.io.
However, you can view your drop’s media fullscreen on your TV or monitor using Boxee and Dropboxee.
Boxee is, simply put, a media center–letting you hook your computer (Win/Mac/Linux/Apple TV) to your TV and watch video, music and photos.
Dropboxee is an application for Boxee that lets you link to your Drop.io drop. Dropboxee pulls in all your media from the drop and lets you view images full screen and run slideshows on your TV.
You can also listen to audio and view video that’s been added to the drop.
10. Project Sites
While using Drop.io as a project site is probably the purpose for which most people initially use Drop.io, I thought I’d touch on some of the benefits and clever things others are doing with it.
Using Drop.io as a project site, you can:
- Keep project files all in one place (no more searching emails for a specific file)
- Accessible from to all subscribers on any computer with internet access
- Ability to comment on individual files
- Less emails required for communication (alerts can be sent to everyone via email when files are added or commented on)
- Built-in text chat (instant team chat and file sharing) and presentation tools, as well as ability to use 3rd-party chat programs
- Receive faxes and conference calls
Here are some apps made using Drop.io and the Drop.io API:
Collab.io lets you create quick digital meeting rooms on the fly, using Drop.io.
Collab.io uses the Drop.io API to make creating meetings simple and painless.
USend.io is a web app that offers a nearly effortless way to send and share files.
Just pick files on your computer, enter the email addresses of those you want to view the file, and click the Send it out! button.
11. Collect Design Inspiration
With Drop.io’s Firefox extension and other built-in features like dedicated drop email address, collecting design inspiration and snippets from the web or via your camera phone would be a piece of cake.
12. Backup Your Website and Blog
You can use Drop.io along with plugins to backup your self-hosted WordPress site or blog.
There are a few WordPress backup plugins that you can install on your site.
Your theme, plugins and upload directories can get pretty big over time. Because of their size, this can pose problems for attaching these to emails, so you could use the email address for your drop instead, since there’s no size limit (except the size of the drop itself).
A 100MB drop wouldn’t hold too many backups, but it could be a decent enough option if you backup once a week or so.
These are just a few ideas of what Drop.io could be used for. With the release of the Drop.io API, there’s the potential for even more creative uses of Drop.io in the future.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- More Drop.io Uses (Includes sample demo drops)
- Drop.io API (learn how to use Drop.io’s API)
- Official Drop.io API Developer’s Blog (Developer news as well as programs/services using the Drop.io API)
- Drop.io API (Google Groups)
How Do You Use Drop.io?
Tell us in the comments below how you use your Drop.io drops.