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Dropbox Platform Aims to Eliminate the Hard Drive

By - Source: Dropbox | B 28 comments

Dropbox is not just for file syncing anymore.

On Tuesday during DBX, the very first developer conference provided by Dropbox, the company introduced a service that moves way beyond mere syncing files and folders between a virtual locker and connected devices. Meet the Dropbox Platform, a foundation to connect the world's apps, services and devices which intends to sync everything under the sun including game saves, contacts, settings, notes and more.

Powering this new service is the company's new Datastore API. "When you use an app built with datastores, your data will be up-to-date across all devices whether you’re online or offline," the company said on Tuesday. "Imagine a task-tracking app that works on both your iPhone and the web. If it’s built with the Datastore API, you can check off items from your phone during a cross-country flight and add new tasks from your computer and Dropbox will make sure the changes don’t clobber each other."

It would certainly benefit consumers to have one set of saved data (settings, game saves and whatnot) stored in a central location so that a specific app – say Angry Birds for instance – can access that data no matter the installed platform (iOS, Android, WP8). It may even encourage consumers to purchase the same app on another platform, knowing that they wouldn't be required to start over from scratch.

Still, how will this affect other services like Apple's own iCloud – which backs up data if the app supports it – SkyDrive, Google Drive and others? It's easy to imaging app developers jumping on board and implementing Dropbox Platform compatibility, and then the company wants to charge each user a monthly fee for such a useful feature. Apple wouldn't go for something like that without its 30 percent cut – Google and Microsoft would eventually be forced to provide the same type of platform.

The new platform also includes the Sync API which was introduced back in February. This API allows the app to work with Dropbox as if it were a local file system on the device, handling all the syncing and caching. Thus because Sync API caches locally, the app works even without an Internet connection – files are uploaded later.

The Dropbox team has also introduced two new Drop-ins which essentially let developers connect to hundreds of millions of Dropboxes with just a few lines of code. The new "Chooser" drop-in now gives people access to the files in their Dropbox from web and mobile apps whereas the new "Saver" drop-in makes saving files to Dropbox one-click simple. These two drop-ins have already been integrated into Yahoo! Mail, Shutterstock, and Mailbox.

"We’re proud that Dropbox has become the home for millions of people’s most important stuff. So we want to be sure that stuff is always available, no matter if you’re on your laptop at work, a tablet on a plane, or a smartphone on the bus," the company said. "Keeping devices and apps synced with your most up-to-date info has gone from “nice-to-have” to essential."

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston announced the new platform during the conference keynote in San Francisco, saying that Dropbox Platform is designed to replace the hard drive, and that sync is the new save feature. He also revealed that other third-party app developers have signed on to take advantage of Dropbox Platform including TextMe, PicMonkey, Asana, Animoto, 1Password, CloudOn, FedEx and Fargo.

"We took a complicated problem and invented a simple solution," Houston said. "Having Dropbox is the first day of the rest of your life where your stuff is just taken care of."

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    razzb3d , July 12, 2013 5:19 AM
    No.

    I will never store my personal crap online. Ever. I'd rather store them on floppy disks.
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    razzb3d , July 12, 2013 5:19 AM
    No.

    I will never store my personal crap online. Ever. I'd rather store them on floppy disks.
  • 8 Hide
    csf60 , July 12, 2013 5:25 AM
    Well screw dropbox then.
  • Display all 28 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    fimbulvinter , July 12, 2013 5:50 AM
    Reminder this is one of the companies that just hands over your info without a fight to the 5 eyes of the world security state.
  • 2 Hide
    Sunius , July 12, 2013 6:03 AM
    Yea good luck booting from the cloud...
  • 8 Hide
    Vorador2 , July 12, 2013 6:38 AM
    Great, because i'd love to let the NSA all over my stuff.
  • 2 Hide
    drwho1 , July 12, 2013 6:54 AM
    Hell NO!
    I rather have 100 Hard Drives than 1 "cloud".
  • 0 Hide
    Elevory , July 12, 2013 6:58 AM
    Have fun with that, Dropbox.
  • -2 Hide
    frish , July 12, 2013 7:09 AM
    What's with all of the sarcy comments. Don't want it? Don't use it. It's that simple. Isn't the choice of using it a good thing overall rather than just complaining about something that didn't suit you anyway. If there's stuff you really don't want to be seen, then don't upload it to the cloud. It's just simple security measures really.
  • 2 Hide
    fimbulvinter , July 12, 2013 7:17 AM
    It's called the free exchange of opinions and ideas. Don't like it? Don't read it.
  • 0 Hide
    farensabri , July 12, 2013 7:40 AM
    cloud storage eating up all the data bandwidth quota... no thanks. rather have portable hard drive.
  • 0 Hide
    PedanticNo1 , July 12, 2013 7:45 AM
    Heh, silly Dropbox. I only use you to store nonessential things- like unfinished Skyrim mod projects! People who put important things in the Cloud . . . all I have to say it, Megaupload. Not the same situation, obviously, but who'
    s to say the government wont go after Dropbox eventually? Perhaps some people store illegal materials on there, which would be a nice excuse for a warrant.
  • -2 Hide
    Michael Rino , July 12, 2013 7:55 AM
    I prefer copy.com. Quite new, but perhaps the new dropbox.

    If you register with the link below you get 20 GB instead of 15 GB.

    Furthermore you earn 5 GB ! of extra free storage for yourself each time you introduce someone new to Copy. This is a limited time opportunity during the promotion phase.

    https://copy.com?r=ZwE0u7
  • 0 Hide
    Spooderman , July 12, 2013 8:22 AM
    I use skydrive for school stuff but nothing personal, I don't want people reading my personal info like addresses and names.
  • 0 Hide
    Priox , July 12, 2013 8:22 AM
    As long as tech companies are giving governments direct access to their servers, this isn't going to happen.
  • 0 Hide
    syrious1 , July 12, 2013 8:34 AM
    drop box sync is really system intensive for older XP based systems constantly requiring a 1GB RAM resource on computers, when you only have at the most 3.5 available.

    Skydrive IMO does a much better job of syncing/sharing/categorizing your files and is nominally less resource intensive, not to mention to multitude of added benefits in conjunction with the new MS Office.
  • 2 Hide
    fimbulvinter , July 12, 2013 8:45 AM
    • The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/11/microsoft-nsa-collaboration-user-data
  • 0 Hide
    d_kuhn , July 12, 2013 8:56 AM
    Yea I can see this working.

    8:00am (click)... go get coffee... (click)... read mail... (click) oops time to head home for the day.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 12, 2013 9:38 AM
    They are just storing your data on a hard drive not eliminating it.
  • 6 Hide
    saendo86 , July 12, 2013 9:40 AM
    This NSA BS is gonna put a damper most cloud services and their future growth plans.
  • 0 Hide
    none12345 , July 12, 2013 11:53 AM
    " It may even encourage consumers to purchase the same app on another platform, knowing that they wouldn't be required to start over from scratch."

    How about you know....supporting your customers instead! If you buy an application it should work on any device. You should NOT have to rebuy the application for each device you own.

    I personally would never store my data 'in the cloud'. I want sole access to my data. I do not trust 'the cloud'. Now having said that i do store some data 'in the cloud' because i dont have a choice. For instance online games, they store your data. Bank sites, they store your data, etc, etc. You know all these things that have been around forever where you can access your data from any supported device any where.

    But personal stuff, no. Id rather manage it myself then allow someone else to host it, and give/sell/etc my data/viewing habits/etc to marketing firms/the government/etc.
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