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.