Dropbox links allow users to view documents, photos and videos in a browser without any setup.
Dropbox, in a battle for market share with competitors such as Box, SugarSync, Mozy, EVault and others, April 23 launched a new feature that makes it easier for non-Dropbox people to use files stored in the cloud.
Using the new collaboration feature, Dropbox subscribers now can send a Web link connecting the files or folders in the account to non-Dropbox receivers using the service's desktop, Web or mobile application.
Dropbox links allow users to view documents, photos and videos in a browser without any setup. Business presentations, home movies--even entire folders--can be opened and viewed immediately without having to sign in, download anything or open files separately.
For example, once a home video is stored in the Dropbox cloud, the link to it can be sent to a friend or acquaintance, who then simply clicks on the link to view the video--without needing to download the file or open an attachment.
Those using the link get automatic access to a Dropbox page where they can view--but not edit--the file. However, the receiver of the link does get the option to save that photo, video or PDF or other document for later by either downloading it or saving it to their own cloud storage account.
There are business use cases for this feature. For example, companies with Dropbox for Teams can send presentations to clients who might not use Dropbox and share materials with employees on their first day. Teachers can quickly distribute problem sets and exams through links, and students can save them to their own Dropbox or other cloud storage service.
Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz