Dropbox adds new tools to make syncing smarter

The features are aimed at reducing friction both for developers and end users

By Zach Miners, IDG News Service |  IT Management

For example, the tasks compiled in to-do apps, or user preferences, or the latest level reached in a game of Angry Birds, "is really simple stuff, but it's hard to keep it in sync" across devices, Houston said. Datastore API, he explained, is Dropbox's "first step in a whole new way of building a seamless app experience across platforms."

To demo how the tool would work for end users, Dave McDowell, senior director of product management at Yahoo, showed how people could click a new save button built into Yahoo mail that can upload, for example, an email attachment to a Dropbox account to be shared with someone else. Yahoo partnered with Dropbox several months ago to make it easier for users to store and share files, McDowell said.

The tool could also be used, for instance, to sync between multiple devices an image created in a drawing app. So a digital artist would be able to draw, for example, the head of an animal in the app on a desktop, and continue from where he or she left off on a tablet computer.

Other rival cloud storage service providers include Google Drive, Box and Amazon S3, but Dropbox's new features could constitute the first of many expansions for the company as it grows. "We're on the path to becoming the most important home for people's stuff," Houston said.

Over 1 billion files are saved in Dropbox every day, according to the company.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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