By Malcolm Owen
Monday, January 30, 2017, 01:28 pm PT (04:28 pm ET)
Dropbox has launched two new tools for its users, with the collaborative-working service Paper exiting beta, and Smart Sync allowing users to more selectively synchronize files between the cloud storage service and individual Mac and PC desktops.
Dropbox Paper was originally introduced in beta last year, after a period of private testing, as a collaborative environment for teams. The project software lets teams work on multiple shared documents, editing and passing notes to each other to refine ideas and files into a final form.
The app offers enhanced search functions to find specific files and comments, image galleries, and a notification system that works across both the web and app versions of the tool. The iOS app offers many of the aspects of the full web interface, with simplified document editing and the option to insert images from an iPhone or iPad’s camera roll.
For the launch Dropbox has revealed the web version of Paper supports 21 languages, though the mobile apps will have this in the future. The mobile apps are expected to include support for offline workspaces in the future, with project filtering and viewing options also arriving in beta.
First introduced last year as “Project Infinite,” Smart Sync is a way for Dropbox users to access files without synchronizing all the contents of a folder. All of the files and folders kept in Dropbox storage will be viewable in the OS X Finder or Windows File Explorer, though the files will not be present locally until the user clicks the icon to open it.
Once downloaded, the file will automatically synchronize back with the cloud if any changes are made to it. Placeholder versions of files yet to be downloaded will show a cloud icon instead of a green tick, and will also provide users with details about the file itself, including its size and the time it was last modified.
Smart Sync is intended to save users from wasting local storage capacity and bandwidth by keeping as many of the Dropbox files on the company’s servers, and only downloading the files they need. This is extremely useful for teams and business accounts, as the Dropbox could include high quantities of documents as well as very large files.
Smart Sync for all Dropbox Business and Enterprise customers is available immediately.
Business data plans
At the same time as launching Smart Sync and Paper, Dropbox has also introduced new Business plans. The Standard plan for $12.50 per month per user provides 2 terabytes of storage and collaborative tools, while the $20 Advanced plan adds on top administration features, with a third for Enterprise intended for larger businesses.