Cloud Insight

Dropbox Upgrades Hope To Ease Collaboration Headaches

18 Mar

Dropbox was spawned from an idea of Drew Houston, Dropbox’s founder. Houston continually forgot to bring his USB flash drive with him wherever he went. He searched for a solution but could not find exactly what he was looking for. A way to easily access your important files no matter where you are and only needing a connection to the Internet. Houston decided to build his own solution, which soon became the consumer and business cloud storage service we know today. While Dropbox has had undeniable success, many users – especially business users – have yearned for more. Well, Dropbox has finally added some tools to its Dropbox for Business application that should help.

The most notable of additions is “Badge”, which allows users to more easily collaborate on Microsoft Office documents stored in Dropbox. Users now have the ability to see who else is viewing the same file that they are; for instance, a word or excel document. Not only that, but users can receive alerts about changes made to a document by another person while they’re still viewing the file. Users will also have the ability to make small changes without having to leave Dropbox. This solves the problem of two people making the same changes to a document without the other’s knowledge, resulting in wasted time and effort, something many have complained about in the past.

Sure, these features are nothing new to the business world. Many other software or operating systems providers have features such as this. However, this is a first for simpler, more straightforward cloud storage services such as Dropbox. The main selling-point for Dropbox is its lower costs and simple use. User adoption is high due to the ease of learning how to use Dropbox and being able to add, share, and download files among other things. But headaches surely remained for those who want to have a more collaborative approach using Dropbox without having to use multiple tools or software. Of course, Dropbox is not a fully functional project management tool either. Regardless, the new “Badge” features should make things a lot easier for many business users.

Dropbox is also “going social”, if you will, although not full blown “selfie” social. The next notable feature added is the ability to comment on files directly in Dropbox. Prior to this feature being added most Dropbox users would send an email with comments about a particular document.

This made it difficult to keep track of what was said about the document over its lifetime without sorting through emails or creating folders for each document or conversation. Now, users can simply make a comment about a document in the sidebar for everyone to see. Taking things a step further is the ability to “tag” someone or direct a comment at a particular user using the “@” symbol. This will direct a comment to a particular person and will send an email or push notification (if using the mobile app) to the user.

Finally, a complete history is now available for files and shared folders allowing users to keep track of changes and settings over time. Of course we mentioned that these features seem fairly straightforward and aren’t necessarily “revolutionary” as some would say. While they may be right, it doesn’t mean adding simple to understand, useful features to an already simple product can’t improve it greatly. That’s exactly what Dropbox has done here.

According to reports the “Badge” feature has been made available to Dropbox for Business users, while the commenting feature will be available to early access users sometime in the next few weeks.