Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

What’s Next for Dropbox This Year: Content Instead of Files

Dropbox today previewed a set of features to help its users share and view their content, at a press event at its snazzy San Francisco headquarters.

DropboxphotosharingThe new features include photo albums, quick previews for PDFs and other documents, and easier sharing to Facebook, Twitter and email. All of them are specifically for the Web version of Dropbox, and all are expected to be released to all users within the next month.

This isn’t anything that’s going to make anyone’s jaw drop. But the thrust of the features speaks to a larger aim of Dropbox to be less of a secure personal storage system, and more about bringing content to wherever people need it, said Dropbox’s Chris Beckmann, who is product manager for Web and photos.

“We’re moving away from a file-system centric view to a more content-focused view,” explained Ramesh Balakrishnan, the company’s engineering lead on photos.

So, for instance, Dropbox previously hadn’t had a notion of a photo album. In the new system, once photos are grouped together into an album, Dropbox understands them to remain that way, no matter if the files are moved around or subsets of them are shared elsewhere.

These small moves that Dropbox is making to improve the way it handles content show how far the company has to go. For instance, there’s no way to navigate photos besides scrolling through them in chronological order. And within the document previews, there are no editing tools.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik