Dropbox wants to be your online photo repository. An update to the service allows you to automatically upload full-size copies of your snaps, whether you’re on a Mac, PC, Android phone or (coming soon) iOS device.
The new upload feature is available in the latest version of Dropbox for the desktop and the Android Market. Dropbox is also offering up to 3GB of extra storage space for your automatic photo uploads so you don’t have to worry about maxing out your Dropbox allowance with pics. Your extra 3GB will be doled out in 500MB increments as required and your uploaded photos will be automatically sent to a new folder called “Camera Uploads.”
If you’re on a Mac or PC, Dropbox’s desktop app will automatically upload photos for you whether they’re coming from a connected camera, smartphone, tablet or SD card. There’s no word on when this feature is coming to Linux and Dropbox warns the company is still working out the bugs on the new desktop apps. The company began beta testing the new desktop apps earlier in February.
Once you’ve enabled Dropbox’s new photo uploads feature, you will also get a sneak peek at the new look for the Dropbox website. The redesign sports a much cleaner, simplified interface with larger icons.
Dropbox and its competition
There are other services that offer similar functionality to Dropbox’s new feature. Google’s Instant Upload is a fair alternative, but it restricts the size of your photos to 2048 pixels at their widest edge, while Dropbox won’t restrict the size of your images at all.
Similarly, Apple’s Photo Stream automatically syncs your photos across all your devices; the company restricts the size of Photo Stream photos on iOS devices up to 2048 by 1536 pixels, like Google, though Macs and PCs will download and store Photo Stream photos at their full resolution.
Photo uploads are an interesting move from Dropbox, perhaps signaling that the company wants to add more value to its service as larger tech companies encroach on its territory. Apple recently launched iCloud, which offers iOS users the ability to sync files and images across multiple devices. And Google is reportedly getting set to launch its own Dropbox-like service, even though it already offers online storage of files through Google Docs and photos via Picasa and Google+.