June 15, 2012
Dropbox Updates iOS App Hoping We Don’t Leave Them For iCloud
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com
The updated version of the app automatically uploads any pictures and videos in your iPhone´s camera roll over 3G or Wi-Fi, thereby making them instantly available on any Dropbox compatible device. With Apple´s Photo Stream (a part of their iCloud offering) these photos are only visible on Apple TV, iDevices, and your computer´s Photo Library of choice.
Each new member to the Dropbox service automatically receives 3 gigs of free storage, though additional storage is available for a fee. This service has been available to Android users since February. However, Apple being fans of locked-down security, this feature is only now available to iUsers. As a bonus, Dropbox also allows for public photo sharing, making it easy to snap pictures. With services such as ifttt.com, for example, you can arrange for any new photo to hit a specific folder in Dropbox to be automatically uploaded to a variety of services, such as Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.
If you already have a Dropbox account and the app installed on your phone, getting started with this feature is as easy as updating your apps. Then, the first time you open the newly updated Dropbox, you´ll be asked if you want to turn on this feature. You´ll also be given the choice to upload your existing photos are to start fresh, uploading any photos you snap going forward. There´s also an option to earn an extra 3 gigs of storage–in 500 MB increments– just for uploading photos.
The new Dropbox update also adds the ability to move and delete large sets of files at once as well as upload files of any size.
While Dropbox is adding some extra muscle to their popular services, they are also moving to completely get rid of their public folder function.
PCMag has an email from Dropbox to all registered developers which announces Dropbox will start building new user accounts without the public folder, starting August 1. According to Dropbox, once they added the ability to share any file or folder within your account, the public folder became repetitive.
In their user forums, a Dropbox employee known as Michael N confirms this move, and says while new users will not have a public folder, all current users can retain their public folders.
“All current users retain their Dropbox Public folder, and its function continues. Many people have commented on the duplication of function between Public and shared files, and most people (the users of this forum aside) use Public fairly rarely. Since the Public folder won't be in new accounts, relying on it for App functions is a bad idea.”
Dropbox is also telling their app developers to rethink the way they build apps for the syncing service.
"If your app depends on Public folders, we recommend switching to the /shares API call," Dropbox said.
Dropbox did not immediately respond to a request for comment about these new updates.
Apple announced several new improvements to their iCloud services this week at the WWDC 2012 Keynote. As such, some Apple and Dropbox customers may migrate over to native iCloud to solve their syncing needs. Dropbox´s updates today can be seen as a protective measure to keep their customers put.