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January 31, 2013

Liking Clever Social Dropbox

Dropbox Photo PreviewBernie Goldbach in LSAD-Clonmel | Screenshot from my Dropbox.

DROPBOX HAS BECOME a clever social sharing service and I like its new preview features. It's always nice to see a preview of an image but now Dropbox has added the ability to preview documents.

It will take a few months for the Dropbox universe to be able to double-click on a PDF, DOC, DOCX, or PPT file and see a preview of the file before you download it.

What is just as intriguing for me is the new Dropbox "Camera" section. By clicking "Camera" in the left sidebar of the web view you will see an interface that I have on the Xoom Media Tablet. In that view, all the photos uploaded from three different phones are grouped by date. This is a handy way for me to see what our five-year-old daughter is drawing because she snaps shots of her precious artwork every day. I can group the images into individual albums and share them via email, Facebook and Twitter directly from the interface. This is sophisticated sharing because content in albums remain intact even when individual photos move to different folders in my Dropbox.

These new features help move Dropbox from being a mere commodity storage service into where Dropbox is a sharing service for social space. It's an important shift because it suggests Dropbox is applying social abstraction to user content. I really like that philosophy because it means my Dropbox content can be shared by collaborators who could move along a project through their mark-ups on images of UX diagrams, mindmaps or documents.

Dropbox shared files have always helped my productivity. With enhancements to image and document handling, I think I'll add my Dropbox address to my business cards.

Dieter Bohn -- "Dropbox moves beyond simple file management with social photo sharing, albums, and document previews" on The Verge, January 30, 2013.

Bernie Goldbach teaches Dropbox techniques in a social media module for the Limerick Institute of Technology's creative multimedia degree programme.


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