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Dropbox adds new sharing features and a nifty document scanner

Dropbox adds new sharing features and a nifty document scanner


But will you give the company any money?

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Dropbox announced a handful of new features today, including a new scanner for its iOS app that can identify and remember printed text. Now, Dropbox's mobile app will let you snap a photo of any document containing text, and the software will automatically convert it into a file in your account. Using optical character recognition, the company says you can then search for words found within the document to resurface the image later. Dropbox did not give a concrete timeline for when the feature will come to Android.

The company's goal is to get people to think of Dropbox as a place to create files, and not simply store them. While the company has around 500 million users, only a tiny fraction of that number constitutes paying customers who pony up for more storage with Dropbox Pro. When it comes to its business offering, the company's latest figures put it at about 150,000 businesses and organizations who pay for that tier.

Dropbox wants to be a place of creation, not just storage

In other words, Dropbox has to continue giving customers reasons to fill their folders with larger files and pay for more storage. For businesses, Dropbox has to help them see the benefit of paying for the service's more complex features when competing products from companies like Google are cheaper or even free. For instance, the new document scanner will only let you search for text found within your scanned items if you're a Dropbox Business customer.

To further bolster this effort, Dropbox is adding a large plus button at the bottom of its iOS app. This is to facilitate the creation of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files. Through its partnership with the Windows maker, Dropbox says its app will let you now create those files right from Dropbox and have them saved into your account.

The company is also introducing a few new features for desktop users and larger teams. Those include the ability to modify sharing settings right from your desktop folders, meaning you won't have to open Dropbox on the web to share files with co-workers. You can also now share single files with specific users and add comments to a specific part of a file. Down the line, Dropbox is adding the ability to see a log of who has viewed your file and the ability to comment and converse with co-workers from within Microsoft apps like Word and PowerPoint.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Dropbox Business has 150,000 enterprise users. It does in fact have 150,000 businesses and organizations that pay for the tier. We regret the error.