Dropbox silently installs new file manager app on users’ systems [Updated]

Dropbox silently installs new file manager app on users’ systems [Updated]

Update 4:06 p.m. ET: Dropbox says it was a mistake. “We recently announced a new desktop app experience which is now available in Early Access. Due to an error, some users were accidentally exposed to the new app for a short time. The issue has been fixed, fine that there may be a short delay for some users to see the resolution. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. “

Original message: Hi Dropbox users, what has Dropbox been for you lately? Major changes are coming to the Dropbox desktop app. The company announced its “New office experience” in June, and previously it was opt-in. Recently, however, a number of users on Twitter and at Ars Orbiting HQ reported being silently “upgraded” to this drastically different version of Dropbox.

This new version of Dropbox is intended to be … a file manager? Instead of the minimal sync app, the Dropbox icon now opens a large blue and white multi-panel window showing all of your Dropbox files. It looks a bit like Slack, if Slack was a file manager. You can now ‘highlight’ folders as important so that they show up in the left pane (again, like a Slack chat room). The middle panel shows your Dropbox files and the right panel shows a preview of the file with comments and sharing options. You can search for files, sort by name or date, and perform all the usual file operations such as cut, copy and paste. It’s a file manager.

Much of the appeal of Dropbox is (was?) That it’s a very simple product: it’s a folder, in the cloud! Put your stuff in the folder, and it’s backed up and synchronized seamlessly with all your other computers. Part of using Dropbox is installing the sync app on your computer, and to keep everything up to date and up to date, Dropbox has the option to update this app silently from time to time. Using this mechanism to silently install a bigger, more bloated, and completely different version of the Dropbox app on people’s computers seems … wrong, especially without any warning. Updates are one thing, but numerous users (your author included) feels there was a lack of consent here.

No one wants a Dropbox file manager. Whether you are a Windows, Mac or Linux user, all of our computers are already equipped with file managers and they work perfectly. The Dropbox app is already adding features specific to Dropbox, such as sharing to the stock file manager, and having a separate and different file manager for a single folder on your computer just doesn’t make sense.

This new update implements various weird or workflow disrupting changes depending on the operating system you are on. On Windows, double-clicking the status bar icon no longer opens your default Dropbox folder, but instead opens the Dropbox file manager. On macOS, Dropbox now likes to repeatedly generate a Dropbox dock icon. You can remove it, but it will reappear every time you restart your computer. Dropbox support says It is not possible to turn off this docking station icon. On Linux, well, Dropbox don’t care enough about linux to port the file manager application. Lucky penguins.

By default, the way you launch Dropbox will now open the Dropbox file manager instead of Finder on a Mac or Explorer on Windows. You can change that, however. Just open Dropbox preferences and in the “General” tab you will see an “Open Folders In” option. If you have been upgraded to the “New Dropbox Experience” it will say “Dropbox”, just change it to “Explorer” or “Finder” and Dropbox will be slightly more normal.

Dropbox has recently made a number of disruptive changes to its user base. Along with this new wild app experience, the company recently added a device limit to its free usage tier. Previously, you could link an unlimited number of devices to your free Dropbox account, but now “basic” users are limited to three devices, including iOS and Android devices, which don’t even sync files like they do. desktop computers.

Dropbox was quietly one of the web’s best services for years, and after strong growth, the company staged an IPO last year. Since then, the stock has struggled to stay above its IPO price, and it’s clear the company is getting more aggressive in trying to convert users and get people to consider Dropbox. as more than a “fair record”.

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Donald E. Hollingsworth

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