New Dropbox features focus on content

Taking baby steps from pure storage to management

Dropbox is best known for offering a simple way to store files in the cloud. Last week, in a company blog post, it announced new features that begin to layer on more basic content management.

The new features aren't earth-shattering by any means, but they are a small step forward for Dropbox. First of all, there is a new preview feature. This may not seem like much, but instead of downloading a file and opening it in the native application, you can preview it online and that's a huge convenience for Dropbox users. Of course, it's something other products like Evernote and Box have been doing for some time.

A second feature groups photos together into photo albums. Instead of having to copy the photos and paste them into a shared folder, Dropbox now understands these to be photos, and when you group them together, is making it easier to share directly from the album. Again, not a ground-breaking new feature, but certainly one that will be useful for Dropbox users.

So far, these management features are simple, but when combined with Dropbox for Teams, it's at least a baby step toward making this a more enterprise-friendly collaboration tool. They are still missing a way to communicate within the program and that's a huge missing link for now.

Dropbox has always done cloud file sharing very well. It builds the Dropbox folder directly into Windows Explorer or Mac Finder and that makes it so much easier to share files to the cloud.

Its primary purpose may remain file sharing, but as Ramesh Balakrishnan, the company's engineering lead on photos, told All Things Digital, that's changing. "We're moving away from a file-system centric view to a more content-focused view," he said.

For now, these new features are in Beta and you can sign up for an early preview.

For more information:
- see the Dropbox blog post announcing the new features

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