What does Dropbox's Project Harmony tell us about the future of cloud storage?

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Drew Houston PicDropbox CEO Drew Houston made a number of noteworthy revelations at a press event held in San Francisco Wedensday. Dropbox upped the ante on their competitors with the announcement of an expanded Dropbox for Business solution. In testing since last November, Dropbox for Business has finally been made available. The new product gives the ability to have separate folders for work and personal use. There is also a feature that enables remote file removal or, less drastically, a file transfer option. Houston also unveiled a new version of the Mailbox app for Android with an added autoswipe feature that enables automatic categorization of emails to specific folders.

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The company also announced a new photo app called Carousel and, most interestingly, a file collaboration solution labelled Project Harmony. The niftily titled Carousel offers a one-stop solution to photo storage. One notable feature is the shared folder option which can facilitate a collective user experience. Photos will also be automatically indexed by date, location, and event.

Project Harmony, available late 2014, represents something of a departure from Dropbox. The feature will allow users to work collaboratively on the latest file versions. Based on the initial presentation, it seems Project Harmony will allow for real-time and collaborative editing features similar to Google Documents. Aimed at Microsoft Office users, Houston predicts that Project Harmony will put an end to file version worries. Given the widespread usage of Microsoft Office, Project Harmony has the potential to make a massive impact on the enterprise landscape. Dropbox have promised to release more details on Friday.

The shift in Dropbox’s strategic direction signalled by yesterday’s announcement validates Docurated’s smart approach to document management. Just last week, Docurated CEO, Alex Gorbansky spoke with Forbes about the need to progress beyond basic cloud storage services. Alex pointed out that “most cloud storage vendors have realized that competing on storage costs is a losing proposition. Instead, their attention is focused on moving up the stack and providing value-added services like advanced collaboration, workflow and others. In essence, everyone wants to be the place where people do work, not just a storage repository.” With the move to the cloud continuing apace, the attention has shifted beyond simple file storage.

There is now an abundance of content stored in the cloud, the need for document management and collaborative solutions has never been greater. Dropbox have realized this need and sought to address it with the introduction of Project Harmony, Dropbox for Business, autoswipe, and Carousal. Dropbox have started to focus on things like collaboration, categorization, and curation. As cloud storage continues its evolution, effective knowledge management will only become more important.

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