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Dropbox goes social, adds ‘Documents Preview’ and a feed for photo sharing

Dropbox is now better equipped when it comes to viewing content on the file storage platform. In two new updates introduced today, as reported by The Verge, Dropbox users can enjoy previews of files that you’re going to download, and view all photos uploaded on Dropbox under one roof.

In the first update, in a manner that’s similar to opening up email attachments in Google Docs, Dropbox has made it quick and easy to preview documents. Docs, PDFs, Powerpoints, and Docx are supported right now, but previews of Excel files aren’t available yet – but it’s something that the Dropbox team is working on. 

The update is more about convenience rather than function. You’re not forced to wait for the download to complete, and you also won’t have to clutter your computer with unimportant documents that you might prefer to keep off of your desktop.

In the second announcement, Dropbox is rethinking how you look at files. They don’t want you to see lists of files as “documents.” So in an effort to rethink how users interact with Dropbox, the team has corralled all the photos that you’ve uploaded to Dropbox into one tab for photos, which are organized by time. Where the social integration comes into play is how Dropbox enables users to pick and choose select images from Dropbox and port them to an album. These collections of photos can then be shared to Facebook, Twitter, and via email without having to leave the site.

Why the update to photos? Facebook and Google have been offering photo storage platforms, which store images that are automatically uploaded by a user’s phone. Facebook in particular has a separate section devoted to smartphone photos synced to Facebook. So since Dropbox also offers instant uploads of photos for iOS and Android smartphone owners, its move to collect photos under one roof was a natural progression. And considering our penchant for taking photography and sharing these images, it’s a smart move on Dropbox’s part so its users aren’t lured by Facebook or other platforms used for storing and sharing photos.

The news comes just as App.net, the Twitter competitor, announced it was adding file storage. Social-focused apps become more function friendly, while storage-focused ones get in on social – it seems like it’s just a matter of time before these two markets merge completely. 

Android users can get their hands on the photo tab and social sharing feature as of now, but iOS users will have to wait for next month.

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