But here’s another point about universal syncing, versus one-thing-well services like Dropbox, that occurs to me every few months: all your eggs in one basket is a terrible idea. I can’t single out one service where that’s been a bad idea, but I can count two or three people who have lost things, important things, to the idea of Total Sync Solutions. People have upgraded to a new version of iOS to find contacts, documents, and apps living in a weird half-state between available and not. Google users, well--just ask any otherwise pro-Google person about their Google Contacts list. I don’t know many people who are Windows Live devotees, but I can tell you that a lot of Hotmail accounts seem to get hacked every month, judging from the friends that suddenly turn into generic prescription sellers.
And that’s my strongest argument for Dropbox’s value. There are lots of reasons somebody with terrible intentions might want to get into your Gmail, your Apple Photo Stream, or your stash of passwords and work documents in Windows Live, whether targeting you personally or just trying to spam people. You can lose access to your account temporarily or permanently. Dropbox has, to my knowledge, not been a notable target for spammers, virus spreaders, or jerks, because in most cases, the best they’ll get are a whole bunch of documents, images, and maybe a few MP3s.
The computers of today and the near future can do a lot of things for us, but they can’t explain the value of a good screwdriver for certain jobs over a multi-tool.