When it comes to file management, Apple fans have had it easy. Ever since Apple debuted AirDrop in OS X Lion, way back in July of 2011, moving files around your linked desktop and laptop systems (and iPhones and iPads) couldn't be any easier.
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There's nothing inherently wrong with Dropbox, Google Drive, or whatever popular service you use to back files up to the cloud and keep them synchronised between your multiple desktops and laptops. However, data privacy is becoming a bigger deal and we wouldn't question you if you're ready to make the leap away from these kinds of services.
Dropbox has added a new presentation tool, Dropbox Showcase, to its portfolio as the company best known for file syncing and sharing continues to expand its collaboration toolkit. Showcase is available to all Dropbox Business Advanced and Enterprise teams along with updates to admin controls for managing the deployment of Showcase within businesses and workgroups.
Dropbox was the early mover when it came to a file sync and share service that was able to make it easy for people to save files on one device and have them available, almost instantly, on another device. But since they started, many competitors ahem come along and the core service they offered has become commoditised. That's driven the company to look for new ways to differentiate themselves and to solve different problems. And that's where Dropbox Paper comes in. Paper is about helping teams of people work together.
Dropbox has announced a partnership with Google Cloud that will deliver a bunch of new cross-platform integrations that will bring Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Hangouts into closer collaboration with their file sync and share platform. And it's not just a corporate feature - the integrations will be made accessible for all Dropbox users.
Every IT admin knows the pain of having unused user accounts lingering around. But when you run a global cloud storage business, unused accounts can be a pain in the butt. For Dropbox, which is preparing to go public and is facing stiff competition from Microsoft, Google, Apple and others, the need to better manage infrastructure costs is particularly acute. In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Dropbox has said they've been able to save over US$35M in infrastructure costs. One of the things they did was delete data from inactive users.
This year will, I think, be remembered for many things. But on the technology front, it will be the year that collaboration systems really started to hit their straps. Continuing that trend of improvement and evolution, Dropbox has revamped the iPad experience for their collaboration tool Paper as well as adding Outlook calendar integration and the ability to link events from the Google or Outlook calendars to notes.
Dropbox is continuing its journey away from being simply a file sync service into one that businesses can use for collaboration and more sophisticated information distribution. While their free service remains popular, the company is continuing to push their business creditability with the new Showcase - the centrepiece of Dropbox's new Professional offering. I spoke with Dropbox's Daniel Iversen about the new products and services.
Building an online service and API is a difficult business. Once you've actually spent the time putting it together, writing up good documentation and delivering something reliable and stable, you potentially have to support it for a long time. But not forever. In Dropbox's case, it pulled the plug this week on its original API, v1, leaving tardy developers -- and their users -- with potentially non-functional apps.
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This morning, Dropbox announced the release of DBX Platform. This is a suite of APIs and developer tools for building new capabilities on top of Dropbox that includes new integrations with Atlassian’s JIRA Software, Autodesk tools and Microsoft Outlook. I spoke with Dropbox's Head of Solutions Architecture Dan Iversen about the new features.
Teams is Microsoft's play in the competitive collaboration business. Like Slack and HipChat, it's a chat-based system. But as well as chat, Teams is about allowing coworkers to work together. Of course, that means being able to access content easily.
As part of Microsoft's increased openness to working with third parties, a new integration with Dropbox has been announced, so people can work together on files stored in Dropbox.
Earlier this month, I reported that Dropbox was adding their own point of presence (PoP) in Sydney to speed up local services. This followed similar moves in other territories. The PoP isn't a local storage facility but a proxy that is used to speed up sync performance back to the servers in US, which is where almost all Dropbox's storage capacity is located - there's also storage in Germany to satisfy EU data sovereignty requirements. But, it seems Dropbox's ambitions are much grander, as they are building their own private network to service customers.
Dropbox is giving Australian users a performance boost with the opening of a new local point of presence. Running their own dedicated equipment in one of Equinix's Sydney data centres, Dropbox's Dan Iverson, the head of solutions architecture APAC, said the new PoP will act as a proxy server improving performance for Australian users. It follows on the steps of similar initiatives in other regions.
One of the biggest hassles with having multiple computing devices is being able to access your data in the office, at home and when travelling. Back in the 1990s, when I started working in IT, Microsoft had a crack at this with the Briefcase feature that was part of Windows 95 but it was pretty poor.
By the mid to late 2000s, cloud storage services came to the fore, making it easy to access up to date versions of our workfiles wherever and whenever we wanted. But how do we use these services and get the most out of them?