Dropbox paves a smoother path from Web to desktop

A new 'Open' button will automatically launch files in their native apps.

Dropbox's new Open button

Dropbox's new Open button

Business users who rely on Dropbox to store and collaborate on files in the cloud have long shared a significant pain point: shared files initially viewed in the browser have to be downloaded before they can be edited on the desktop.

That extra step not only adds time and complexity but can also lead to multiple versions of files and a lack of synchronization.

On Thursday, Dropbox announced a new "Open" button that will arrive soon and should make things considerably easier. The button will appear when a user previews a file on the web that also exists in a Dropbox folder on their PC. Instead of opening it in their browser, it will open it in the native application on their computer.

For instance, if a user receives a link to a Microsoft Word document that's also on their desktop, they can view it in their browser first and then click Open to instantly edit it in Word. When they hit "Save," both the desktop and cloud versions of the file are updated automatically.

"The new Dropbox function addresses one of its clients' bigger headaches: waiting for files to download," said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT.

The time required can be variable and unpredictable, King said, making it inconvenient for time-constrained business workers.

More than half of users who access Dropbox through the Web also run the Dropbox desktop app, said Josh Kaplan, Dropbox's desktop client product manager.

"This helps them get to their files quickly and easily," Kaplan said via email.

The WebSocket protocol is among the technologies powering the new capability, which will appear in the next version of the Dropbox desktop app rolling out to users over the next few weeks. The new version is also available now as a download on the Dropbox site.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cloud computinginternetdropboxInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?