Ambitious Dropbox launches new apps

Drew Houston, founder and CEO of Dropbox, which hopes to rival Google and Apple with its new apps

Drew Houston, founder and CEO of Dropbox, which hopes to rival Google and Apple with its new apps

First published in National News © by

Dropbox, the cloud-based file hosting service, has taken steps to compete with Google and Apple by launching two new apps.

At at event in San Francisco, the company, traditionally known for its online storage options for documents and other files, unveiled a new app for photos - Carousel, as well as an Android version of its email app, Mailbox.

"Once upon a time, photos were something you held. You kept them safe in an album or shoebox, and it was easy to relive those moments with friends and family. Today, new apps and devices have made it easier than ever to take photos, but there's no longer a single home for all your life's memories," said Dropbox on their blog.

"We'd like you to meet Carousel; a gallery for all the photos and videos from your life. It combines the photos in your Dropbox with the photos on your phone, and automatically backs up new ones as you take them."

Carousel takes advantage of some of the features of Snapjoy, a photo start-up purchased by Dropbox in late 2012, which automatically organises all the photos on your device for you, as well as storing them in Dropbox's cloud servers.

In addition to photos, Dropbox also announced that it was extending its email service to Android with the app Mailbox, which launched on iOS last year.

The launch means that Dropbox has expanded beyond its cloud-based storage surface for the first time, bringing it closer to the large technology names of Google and Apple by offering a wider range of services.

"We're moving from one app called Dropbox to this whole family of apps," said chief executive Drew Houston at the launch.

Dropbox has been valued at 10 billion dollars after lining up 500 billion dollars worth of borrowing in addition to more than 300 million dollars raised in equity funding in January this year. The company is expected to float on the stock market for the first time later in the year.

The San Francisco-based file hosting service originally launched in 2008 and has since gained more than 250 million users through its free cloud space for people to store and access files. Dropbox has companion apps across all the major mobile platforms, making it possible for users to access their files easily on the go.

The number of users is expected to rise with the launch of these new apps, which will give consumers a wider range of options when it comes to selecting photo storage and email facilities.

The announcement comes shortly after Microsoft unveiled a full version of its Office suite for iPad, as well as a new app for Box, their own cloud-storage service aimed at businesses.

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