Dropbox has just announced an update to its self-named service that provides new public sharing links. This update, which appears to be an end-run against the imminent launch of Google's competing Drive app, makes it possible to share read-only folders with anyone -- regardless of whether or not they have a Dropbox account.
The files you're linking to no longer need to be in your Dropbox Public folder. To use the new public sharing links, you right-click a file or folder and select "Get Link." This makes the file or folder public, using a link that is generated by Dropbox and then copied to your clipboard. You can't make the link auto-expire; instead, you'll need to make the file or folder private again using the Dropbox website.
This feature, which is already available in competitors like SugarSync and LogMeIn Cubby, makes Dropbox a competitor against file-sending services like YouSendIt. It's expected that the new feature will go live today. According to Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, a photo auto-upload feature will also be debuting soon on the iPhone app.