Dropbox Team feature makes it 'easier to use at work'

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Dropbox today provided a stepping stone in functionality for those who use the tool at work but haven't yet upgraded to Dropbox for Business.

From tomorrow, Basic and Pro users will be able to create 'Team folders', switch between personal and work profiles, and create different sharing groups with the free boost to functionality, as well as limiting who can access files.

The file-sharing firm aims to make it easier for professionals to find colleagues and share with them, create a central hub for business files and separate out people's personal and work accounts.

Of Dropbox's 400 million users, it estimates that 60 per cent of these use Dropbox at work, claiming this equates to Dropbox being present in 8 million businesses.

Pranav Piyush, product manager at Dropbox, told Cloud Pro: “A chunk of those 8 million businesses are the 130,000 paid customers for Dropbox for Business, and that number is growing really well and fast.

“But there are also the rest of the users who are still on Basic and Pro and are using Dropbox at work for their teamwork.”

Instead of making these users carry on with workarounds to improve sharing files at work, Dropbox decided to give them a freebie upgrade instead, saying they are not in a position to use the For Business version of the tool just yet.

“They could have used Dropbox for Business but we feel they aren't just ready for it yet and they need an interim solution before they move on to that one,” Piyush said.

The Team folders update provides a central place for collaborating on one file, where every member of a team will get automatic access to files put in their particular folder.

Meanwhile, the ability to create groups allows users to quickly share documents with a list of colleagues, and people can also switch between personal and work profiles from their desktop, mobile and browser versions of Dropbox with the click of a button.

If users already have a separate personal account, they can sync it with their work account to switch between the two, while those without one can create one within their existing Dropbox account before switching between them.

A "few hundred" users have trialled alpha versions of the new features, and Piyush told Cloud Pro Dropbox was not afraid of hurting take-up of its Business version.

Rather, he said this tool would help smaller businesses of up to 75 people, for whom upgrading to Business is a long way away, and who don't yet need the extra administrative features offered by the software.

However, he added that by giving them a taster of the new features, it could encourage them to upgrade as their companies grow in size.

“A lot of the teams and businesses that start using the Team functionality will upgrade to Business and that's the recommended solution we have for businesses that mature through our product and continue to grow in that direction,” he said.