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Email Limitations (Jefferson Byrd)

Email has been used as a means of digital communication since 1993.1 While email is a fast and easy method of transmitting messages (which contain less than 10KB of data) to one or more recipient, it has limited capability to send large image and video files. An email message containing a digital image attachment, for example, may contain more than 2000KB of data. This can cause email messages to be sent slowly and may take the recipient longer to download. As a result, the recipient may not be able to access their messages while downloading the large attachment file to their computer. This creates a “traffic jam” effect in the recipient’s email inbox. (Please note that this only applies to users of  email-specific programs. It is not true for users of websites like Gmail.)

Comparison of alternative, free, ways to send big files to people:

   Lets you email links to download files? Lets you password-protect links to download files?  Lets you set the emailed links to expire on a given date?  Maximum file size  Notes


 Yes2  No2 No2

2 GB if uploaded through the Dropbox folder, but 300 MB limit if uploaded through their website.4 5

Once the software is downloaded from the website, a "Dropbox folder" is created to allow any file inserted into the folder to be synchronized or copied to the server. This process is illustrated on the Dropbox website.6

Yes7 Yes7Yes7

Unclear, but likely no more than 2-5 GB.8

Yes9 No9 No9

 50 MB9

 Yes/No10 No10 No10

 300 MB10

The free version of SendSpace allows email links to pages from which the files can be downloaded, but it will not allow the file to be downloaded directly from a link.10

Yes11 No11 No11

 300 MB11


 Google Drive

Yes12 No13 No13  5 GB12

Google Docs-compatible files can be shared in the same way as a Google Docs document -- Google Docs documents are now stored in Google Drive.12


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  13. . Last accessed June 5, 2013, 9:51 PM.