Dropbox's 'Project Infinite' will let users browse cloud files without syncing locally

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in General Discussion
Cloud storage service Dropbox on Tuesday announced "Project Infinite," a new feature that will let people browse cloud files on their desktop without having to have the content synced locally.




With Infinite in place, files and folders hosted on Dropbox will appear in OS X's Finder or Windows' File Explorer, regardless of whether they've been downloaded, Dropbox said. Files that haven't been synced will appear with a new cloud logo instead of the usual checkmark, but will display information like file sizes and modification dates.

To work with a file, people will still need to sync, but the process should happen automatically simply by double-clicking on an item.

Infinite is currently only in the hands of a handful of "sponsor" business customers, and indeed the feature so far appears oriented toward organizations rather than individuals. It should eventually expand to more customers however, and Dropbox is planning later announcements along those lines.

Dropbox has struggled to keep itself relevant in face of other cloud storage services from Google, Microsoft, Box, and Apple's iCloud Drive. All of those services offer a greater amount of default storage for individuals, and a wider range of plans.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    As long as you also sync them all to some master device in case the cloud evaporates you should be fine.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    irelandireland Posts: 17,552member
    Seems like marketing to save Dropbox some money to me.
  • Reply 3 of 11
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    seems like a great way to save me some HD space, to me.

    and, incidentally, almost exactly how dropbox works in iOS. it doesnt retain copies of everything on your phone. nor should it.
    edited April 2016 williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 11
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    seems like a great way to save me some HD space, to me.

    and, incidentally, almost exactly how dropbox works in iOS. it doesnt retain copies of everything on your phone. nor should it.
    Can in preview files that are not synced, that's something I'd even like NAS IOS clients like Document 5 to do. I hate having to download/sync the files to get an idea what's inside.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    Haven't we always been able to do this through Safari or other browser?
    jmoore5196
  • Reply 6 of 11
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 431member
    Sounds like simple "alias" file names to me (which could be manually done now to save disk space).  Should be a simple implementation on OS X, and that is the way it is done on IOS now (no files are retained on the device)
  • Reply 7 of 11
    I hope i'm not revealing my age, but I remember a time where we used to call this and many other cloud features FTP servers.
    bobschlobcommand_f
  • Reply 8 of 11
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,268member
    emoeller said:
    Sounds like simple "alias" file names to me (which could be manually done now to save disk space).  Should be a simple implementation on OS X, and that is the way it is done on IOS now (no files are retained on the device)
    Could be aliases. However the fact that they show modification dates etc makes me think it's some kind of kernel extension. 
  • Reply 9 of 11
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    paxman said:
    Haven't we always been able to do this through Safari or other browser?
    very different use case. this does not involve a web browser and instead has what appear to be files sitting on your file system, which retrieve when you double click them. it's more like Photos -- thumbnails which look like your pics, but the pics are only downloaded on demand. saves space. 
  • Reply 10 of 11
    foljsfoljs Posts: 327member
    ireland said:
    Seems like marketing to save Dropbox some money to me.
    That's because you didn't understand it.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 11
    foljsfoljs Posts: 327member
    I hope i'm not revealing my age, but I remember a time where we used to call this and many other cloud features FTP servers.
    And I hope I'm not revealing mine, but I remember FTP servers not having desktop integration, not having automatic sync, not having full featured web access, not having the ability to create stand-in files for non-local items (like this feature is all about), and not copying your data across many data centers for fault tolerance.
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