Dropbox recently found itself competing with a new challenger in the just-launched Google Drive, but that hasn’t stopped the file sharing and hosting service from building. Today the cloud hosting site issued a couple of updates for both mobile and Web.
The changes to the Web service will probably grab the most attention. According to a forum post, Dropbox is telling its developers that public folders will be making an exit.
“We wanted to let our developers know about an upcoming change to the Public folder for all user accounts. In April, we launched the ability to share any file or folder in your Dropbox with a simple link. This new sharing mechanism is a more generalized, scalable way to support many of the same use cases as the Public folder. After July 31, we will no longer create Public folders in any new Dropbox accounts. If your app depends on the Public folders, we recommend switching to the /shares API call. Public folders in existing accounts, however, will continue to function as before.”
Dropbox officially addressed the forthcoming updates to its public sharing system, confirming public folders will be phased out and referring users to the quick-link sharing feature it added recently.
So as of August, existing public folders will be safe but newly created ones are out. You’ll be steered toward using Dropbox’s aforementioned link-sharing feature. It adds a step on both ends of the folder sharing process – you hit the “get link” prompt, do with it what you will, and then those that you’re sending it to will be instructed to download the content. It means the person you’re linking isn’t actually being directly linked to your content, and it images and other media could be more difficult to share (you can easily and quickly preview what’s in these folders, but you can’t actually directly access it). Just to be clear, users can directly access the information shared through Dropbox links, as Dropbox provides the ability to download this content or add it to your Dropbox folder.
Scrolling through the developers forum, you’ll quickly gather that the reaction has been largely negative. Power users who have virtually turned Dropbox into a server on their own system are naturally frustrated by the choice, but the casual or light Dropbox file and folder sharers out there likely won’t be very affected by the change. Dropbox is doing this because its a more scalable solution on its end — which is something worth considering, given that it has 50+ million users.
On the mobile side of things, the latest iteration of the Dropbox iOS app has added the ability for automatic photo and video uploads from your camera roll over Wi-Fi and cellular – and if you give Dropbox permission to auto-log your camera roll, you’ll be rewarded with 3GB of extra storage. Essentially, the more you use Dropbox for mobile media backup, the more space it’s willing to give you.