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Dropbox Now Allows Public Sharing of Files

Here's a bit of news that should get the MPAA all fired up: Dropbox now offers public file sharing.

On Monday Dropbox announced that it has added a public file sharing option to its virtual locker service, allowing users to send links leading back to documents, photos, and videos to anyone, whether they're Dropbox members or not. Previously users could send links, but the recipient needed to create a Dropbox account in order to view and use the files.

"Dropbox links allow people to easily view documents, photos, and videos in a beautiful full-browser display without any setup," the company explains. "Business presentations, home movies, and even entire folders can be opened and viewed instantly without having to sign in, download anything, or open files separately."

In the Dropbox desktop, mobile and web-based applications, the "Get Link" button creates a unique link to the desired file or folder. The link can then be sent to other users -- if they're already a Dropbox member, they'll have the added option of saving the file to their own Dropbox virtual locker.

"Anyone with the link gets access to a snazzy page where they can view (but not edit) your stuff," the company said in a blog. "Our gallery pages give your photos, videos, and even docs the gorgeous, full-browser view they deserve. This means that people who follow your link can see pictures, look at presentations, and watch home videos without having to download and open them separately."

The news arrives just before Google reportedly launches its own virtual locker service, Google Drive. Little is known about the service at this point save for that it will start with 5 GB of free storage. Given the new Dropbox feature, it's easy to assume that Google Drive will also provide a public file sharing option. Google Drive is slated to launch on Wednesday or Thursday although Google hasn't officially acknowledged a street date.

Just recently Dropbox announced that Bono and The Edge from the popular Irish band U2 are now investors in the company. The two reportedly came across Dropbox when they were building a project on Facebook. Once Dropbox raised $250 million last year, the duo decided the online storage business might actually be profitable.

"We're always looking for ways to make life easier and solve the basic problems people face everyday," said Drew Houston, CEO and co-founder of Dropbox. "Sending files has always been a painful process, but now with Dropbox, sharing with friends, family, and colleagues is effortless."