Dropbox rolls out document scanning, new sharing features, and more to its apps

dropbox update document scanning pc computer 2
Dropbox isn’t just a haphazard dump for your ripped Jimmy Hendrix collection, last tax season’s Excel spreadsheets, and photos from the annual family barbecue anymore. A case in point is today’s full-bodied update for Dropbox’s desktop and iOS client. Among the new features are a nifty photo-scanning feature that uses optical character recognition to parse the text in written documents, streamlined document and photo management workflows, new sharing and file history tools, and support for commenting on stored content.

Document scanning on mobile devices is perhaps the headliner. It works as you would expect: you launch the Dropbox app, hold your handset’s camera up to any surface with typed or handwritten text — e.g., a whiteboard, receipt, or sketch — and the app takes care of the rest. It will automatically organize your captures, and, if you’re a Dropbox Business subscriber, let you search the text within scans.

Dropbox is rounding out its sharing tools, too. If you have Dropbox’s desktop application installed, you can right-click on a file in Mac Finder or Windows Explorer and share from the desktop. In addition, you can now share individual files with specific people, or make them viewable publicly. And when you share a file like a chat log, pic, or document, you now have the option to annotate specific bits and pieces — the second paragraph in a manuscript, for example, or the inexplicably blurry corner of a portrait.

In what’s sure to be a boon for doc junkies everywhere, the Dropbox app for iOS is gaining shortcuts to Microsoft’s coterie of productivity tools. Click on the app’s “plus” button and you’ll be greeted with links to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. New documents save to Dropbox periodically, and thanks to a new version history feature, you can restore old revisions in case of unintended deletions or edits.

The updates aren’t all good news, though. If you have been taking advantage of Dropbox Basic’s photo upload feature to back up pics from your various phones, tablets, and computers, you’ll have to install the Dropbox desktop application by July 22 to retain access. The only recourse? Uploading photos manually, or upgrading to Dropbox’s premium-tier Pro service.

If that last bit sounds like a transparent ploy to drive non-paying Dropbox users toward the company’s paid offerings, that’s no mistake. Dropbox counts more than 500 million users among its ranks, but only 150,000 paying enterprise users — far short of the threshold it hopes to reach ahead of a potential initial public offering.

Dropbox’s CEO, Drew Houston, told Bloomberg in an interview last year that its focus was on “investing and growing” rather than “profitability,” but signs of change are in the air. Following decisions by investment firms T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Morgan Stanley to cut their valuations in the San Francisco-based company earlier this year, Dropbox canceled employee perks worth a collective $38 million.

The new features will roll out “in the coming days.”

Mobile

The Galaxy A8s is Samsung's first with a hole-punch camera cutout

Samsung is building exciting, technologically innovative midrange phones, and the latest to be revealed is the new Samsung Galaxy A8s, which may give us an idea of what the new Samsung Galaxy S10 will look like.
Computing

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…
Computing

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Mobile

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.
Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Mobile

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.
Mobile

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Mobile

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

The LG V40 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and Watch W7 are discounted for the holidays

LG announced a series of deals for the holiday season where you can buy the company's two flagship phones, the V40 ThinQ and G7 ThinQ, as well as its latest smartwatch, for between $150 and $200 off, depending on the device.