Dropbox Says Open Sesame with Its New Button

3 minute read
Virginia Backaitis avatar

Dropbox just gave its 300 million users another reason never to leave. While some Sync and Share providers would brag about a release like today's, Dropbox doesn't -- that's not its style.

What it does instead is ever so quietly say “Hey, by the way, look what we’ve done now that will make your life easier.” Its motive is to simply delight you, but how it plays out has another effect. It makes the experience on some of the other file sharing services kind of suck in comparison.

No More Hoops

For those of us who work with files both on our desktops and on the Web, Dropbox has built an “Open” button, so that when we preview a file on the Web that already lives in our Dropbox, we can open it immediately in its native application. No extra steps required.

As a result we can get busy working with and collaborating on our files right away instead of jumping through a hoop to access them.

How exactly does it play out? Say a co-worker sends you a link to a Microsoft Word document that lives in one of your shared folders, you can view it in your browser first, and then click "Open" to instantly edit it in the Microsoft Word program on your desktop

Since a reported 50 percent of Dropbox web app users also use the Dropbox desktop client, life has just become easier for more than 100 million users.

Learning Opportunities

Small change, big impact. (Though the Dropbox engineers who built the capability and labored for hours might not like us minimizing the fruit of their labor.)

What exactly is the win for me, you may be asking?

Josh Kaplan, Dropbox Desktop Client Product Manager, says it will make your life easier in three ways. It will allow you to:

  • Stay on the same page -- If a file is already on your computer, you won't have to download another copy or create multiple versions; any edits you make will automatically sync back to the original file
  • Send shortcuts -- Use a shared link to point your friends or colleagues to a specific file within a shared folder
  • Save clicks -- Move from previewing a file on the Web to editing it on your desktop in seconds

When Can I Get It?

It’s in the latest version of Dropbox’s Desktop app and will be rolling out over the next few weeks. But if you can’t wait, you can find the link to download it here.