Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Dropbox Extends Beyond Files to Sync Game States, Contacts and To-Do Lists Across Apps

Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston occupies a funny reality. On one hand, as he readily admits, he works on cloud storage — boring and geeky stuff. On the other hand, when Dropbox works, people can’t stop talking about how much they love it. The company has 175 million registered users who save more than one billion files every 24 hours.

Today, at his company’s first developer conference, DBX, in San Francisco, Houston unveiled a bunch of announcements that sound ultra-techie on the face of things, but extend his product into places that many of those users may see and appreciate.

Dropbox’s new Datastore API will allow the 100,000 developers who build on top of Dropbox to store and sync any kind of application data — that includes game states, contacts and to-do lists.

So when you make your to-do list on your iPad while commuting on the train, and then open your computer at home, it will be synced with all your Dropbox-enabled apps on that device.

“You’re not worried about what logo’s on the back of the phone. It just works,” Houston said. “This isn’t just about storing structured information. It’s a whole new way of building apps.”

Of course, bringing this experience to users requires developers to incorporate Dropbox deeply into their products. Houston’s larger pitch is this: “Having Dropbox is the first day of the rest of your life, where your stuff is just taken care of.”

He contrasted the Dropbox-enabled world to today’s reality of error messages and competing tech companies that refuse to make their products compatible.

“Technology is great, but every so often it sneaks up behind you and punches you in the head. This is supposed to work. Just when I need it most, it doesn’t.”

Houston also showed off some complements to his company’s existing products. For instance, today, app developers can integrate a Dropbox Chooser to help users grab their files. Now they can use the new Dropbox Saver plugin to help their users save those files back to Dropbox.

Chooser had been available for the Web already, and now it’s on iOS and Android (including the Dropbox-owned Mailbox app and Yahoo Mail for Android). Meanwhile, Saver is available for the Web and mobile Web, and should be on native apps later this year, Houston said.

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