Dropbox is looking to rebuild itself by offering document scanning and collaborative services

Dropbox has announced a whole slew of collaborative tools and document scanning features in a bid to take on the likes of Office 365 and Google Docs.


Dropbox has been wallowing in its own irrelevance for a long time, but of late they’ve been working hard to revamp their business. To that end, they’ve announced a whole slew of collaborative tools and are now looking a little more like an Office 365 or Google Docs competitor than a vanilla cloud-storage service.

First up is document scanning. Dropbox has updated their iOS app to allow for document scanning from within the app itself. There’s apparently a ‘plus’ button that you tap and then you can scan your documents. If you’re a Dropbox Business user, Dropbox will even convert your documents to searchable text using cloud-based OCR software. All scanned documents will, obviously, be stored in Dropbox. Android users won’t get the functionality just yet, but Dropbox promises that the feature is coming soon.

Next up is comments. You’ll now be able to add and edit comments to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and these comments will sync via Dropbox. What’s more, these comments will be visible even when their respective documents are opened in Microsoft Office. Of course, to use the feature, you'll be relying on Dropbox' own in-built document editing tools.

Also included is support for file revisions, where you can browse through and revert to a previous version of a file. To ease collaboration, Dropbox will also show you who’s looking at a file that you’re also looking at and will also show you the number of times a file has been viewed.

File sharing has also been revamped. You’ll soon be able to share files to Dropbox directly from your Mac’s Finder or Windows’ Explorer. A native interface and context menu on either platform will ensure that you don’t need to go to the Dropbox website to manage these files.

In a bid to improve security, Dropbox has added an invite feature. Rather than sharing a link to a file, which anyone can access, you’ll now be able to invite people to access your files. Other users will need to log into Dropbox to access the same files.

Some of these features are still in beta and won’t be available to the public just yet. It’s also obvious that many of these features have been lifted straight out of Google Docs and Office 365.

By themselves, these features may not be enough to get Dropbox to where it wants to be, but at the very least, it’s a step in some direction.

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