It’s been a bit over a year since Dropbox first introduced the beta of a product it calls Spaces, which was meant to take the concept of a shared folder full of files and bring it into the modern cloud collaboration era. With coronavirus changing the way people work in significant ways, Dropbox says it has accelerated development and is launching a 2.0 version of Spaces today. The service started out as enhancements to Dropbox’s shared folders, but 2.0 is a standalone product that the company says is focused on project management and collaboration. As of today it’s available in a closed beta, but Dropbox says the new version of Spaces should be widely available in the spring of 2021.
Chances are you haven’t heard of Spaces before, but it’s another example of how Dropbox has moved from simply being a place to store and share files to a service for collaborating across all kinds of content. Once you set up a space for a team or project, you can share local files as well as cloud content from services like Google Docs. But doesn’t just hold files — there are a host of integrations with things like Google Calendars, Microsoft Office, Slack, Zoom meetings, Trello cards and more. The goal is to make a Dropbox Space inclusive of basically everything relating to a project that people might be working on, so that you don’t have to jump in and out of a whole host of apps to see what’s going on.
Beyond that, a Dropbox Space can hold a various task lists so you can assign things to various people on your team and directly attach all the relevant files or documents that might be needed. There’s also a “feed” of activity so you can see what people are getting done and any comments people leave on various assignments. Naturally, Spaces also integrate well with Dropbox Paper documents, which themselves can hold embeds from lots of different web services already. In a lot of ways, Spaces 2.0 feels like a project management app like Trello, but more powerful since it has access to a lot more of a team’s content.
Beyond tweaks and expanded access to Spaces, Dropbox is also updating a bunch of its other tools and releasing them more broadly. The company added 30 more third-party apps that can integrate with Dropbox and Spaces, giving it more than 70 options in total. The company’s full computer backup tool is also available to anyone using a Dropbox business plan, and Dropbox’s own password manager is available to all business users as well. As is sometimes the case with Dropbox, it’s a little hard to keep track of all these features, but the video below gives a quick overview. If you’re intrigued you can request access to the beta here.