We love Dropbox for sharing files, and every so often we come across a useful hack for doing something clever in Dropbox--storing Lighroom's Smart Previews, syncing passwords for a service like 1password, and so on. And Dropbox's own services, like Camera Uploads, have also made the cloud storage platform more versatile. Apps built around Dropbox as a platform, however, seem relatively few and far between. And Dropbox is looking to change that.
That's why Dropbox is hosting its first developer conference, DBX, in San Francisco today. The company wants to expand Dropbox's integration with other applications and services. Part of that plan means pushing its Save to Dropbox and Share from Dropbox plugins onto other websites and mobile apps. In April, Yahoo added Dropbox's "Saver" and "Chooser" plugins to its mail service, letting users download attachments straight to Dropbox and to upload attachments from Dropbox.
According to Wired, Yahoo started by adding those features to its web client, but is now bringing Share from Dropbox to its Android client. Dropbox is looking to recruit more app developers at its conference. Even if DBX doesn't lead to an explosion of new ideas for the Dropbox platform, it could further establish Dropbox as the cloud storage platform, and make it far more versatile to boot.
Dropbox is also moving into a new kind of data storage it calls Datastores, for saving application metadata. Instead of manual file storage, Datastores is built for syncing important data between devices. Cloud saves for video games, last read pages for ebooks, where you left off while watching a movie. The more the lines between desktops and laptops and phones and tablets blur, and the more often we use these devices for the same purposes, the more we stand to benefit from a unified platform for sharing this data.
It looks like a smart business move for Dropbox to move past its successful niche as a user-facing cloud storage service. If businesses jump on the idea of using Datastores instead of building their own syncing platforms, we expect next year's DBX to be a whole lot bigger.