One of the powerful components of the cloud-based services lawyers are using is the API. This enables services to talk to each other and for developers to create new tools to use those services. I am seeing more file management tools appearing that sit between you and your Dropbox files and whose goal is to improve your ability to manage those files.
One is called DropDav, which was originally created to support iPad users but is open to anyone. As they say on their Web site, they do not replace Dropbox; they are resting on top of that service and you can still access your Dropbox account in the same way you could before. It allow you to drag and drop files from popular iOS applications into your Dropbox account.
Another one for the heavy file storage user is Otixo. It also uses Webdav but it provides integrated access to a variety of cloud services so that you can drag a file from a Dropbox account, for example, over to your Google Drive or to a Sugarsync account. You can do this if you are sitting at a computer and have synchronized all of your accounts down to your local machine but Otixo moves this ability up into the cloud so that you can manage files this way from anywhere with Internet access and a Web browser.
You may ask yourself why you would need this sort of tool. I use Dropbox for personal file synchronization and storage and Sugarsync for professional files. Since I use the free versions, this arrangement worked out because I have fewer personal files so they fit into the 2 GB Dropbox free account, while Sugarsync has a 5 GB free account. At one point I had devised a way to store my Dropbox files amongst my Sugarsync ones, so that I could easily drag and drop files from one to the other. But a tool like Otixo means that I do not have to keep any personal data in my professional account, just shifting files as I need to get access to one or the other. Of course, if it’s just a file or two, I suppose it would be a lot simpler to just upload them to the appropriate location!
Webdav is not a new technology. You may already be using it to display a Google calendar within your desktop e-mail program. Your calendar isn’t downloaded, but the Webdav connection allows you to make changes to it so that you only make the change once, not in two places. It is interesting to see how it is becoming powerful as a front end to popular cloud services.
While these Webdav file managers can improve your document and file management, they come with a price. Otixo is free for only 250 MB of file transfers a month. DropDav does not have a free level, although there is a 14 day free trial. If you want to do more with your cloud-based file storage, you will need to pay an additional fee. But if you are a heavy user or want the iPad access to your Dropbox account outside of the default utility, these services may be worth it.