At its inaugural developer conference today, Dropbox revealed a new platform that aims to move the cloud storage service “beyond files” and into the world of third-party app data.
These apps will also have offline support, so you can add data to your tablet when you’re offline and expect to see said data synced to your other devices once they all connect to the internet. This kind of approach isn’t exactly new–Apple’s iCloud and Microsoft’s Azure platforms come to mind, as do a variety of apps that have already worked around Dropbox to do these same things–but it does mark an official addition to Dropbox’s functionality.
It could help make cloud syncing more ubiquitous in apps going forward as well. So, if you’ve ever gotten annoyed at how you can’t progress through a Final Fantasy III save on your tablet and then pick up right where you left off on your smartphone, you may be in for better days ahead. That could be doubly true since it’ll sync data across multiple operating systems.
Beyond the Datastores announcement, the company also took time out to showcase a set of UI components for the platform called “Drop-ins.” Those, in Dropbox’s words, “let developers connect to hundreds of millions of Dropboxes with just a few lines of code.” Dropbox revealed the first two today–“Chooser” gives web and mobile apps the ability to directly access Dropbox files, while “Saver” allows for one-click saving to the cloud.
The company says that Yahoo! Mail, Shutterstock, FedEx, 1Password, and various other companies have already committed to using the Dropbox Platform. Another one is Dropbox-owned email client Mailbox, which will soon be able to attach any Dropbox file to an email straight from the app itself. A handful of Android email services have been able to do that already, but Mailbox will become the first iOS one to gain the functionality.
Dropbox CEO Drew Houston proclaimed today that “sync is the new save,” and while his moves today may not be entirely revolutionary, they do seek to back up that lofty premise. Whether or not most consumers will be willing to effectively make Dropbox (or any cloud service) their new hard drive is still up in the air. But in a world where an increasing amount of people use their tablets and smartphones as much, if not more than their computers, Houston and company’s ‘universal syncing’ approach sounds like a wise one.