Dropbox Project Harmony is breaking the rules

Dropbox announced that Dropbox for Business is now available for all, with features that IT staff have demanded:

Remote wipe helps protect confidential information, account transfer helps you maintain business continuity, and sharing audit logs let you track how your Dropbox for Business information is being accessed.

As a footnote, they mention Project Harmony, which looks to be a means to comment between coworkers working inside of files, while they are being edited in existing tools. In the image below, it’s Microsoft Powerpoint:

project_harmony

 

This is all they say at the moment:

We’re exploring new ways to make working together great. Our new initiative, Project Harmony, will let you see who’s editing a file, have a conversation with other editors, and keep copies in sync — all right inside the apps you already use. Check back here on Friday for a closer look.

The capability does not seem to include the comment-to-paragraph linking that usually accompanies inside-of-doc comments. One the other hand, if the comments are also available externally, at the Dropbox folder level, that would be a real step forward over Google Drive, for example.

This is a real departure from the typical model of document comments: either you use the built-in functionality of the editor associated with the file type — like Word with .docx — or you convert it to another format, like Google Docs document. Dropbox is suggesting a different way, through some clever integration into the native editors. It’s breaking the rules. I presume it will could with Apple’s iWork apps, but not with Google Docs, since Google’s aren’t native but cloud-based. According to some reports it only works with Microsoft Office at present.

I was expecting that Dropbox would be announcing their own office apps, but perhaps that’s in the works for Friday, too.

I will have to wait until Friday to have all revealed, it seems.

Relevant Analyst
Stowe Boyd

Stowe Boyd

Lead analyst, future of work Gigaom Research and stoweboyd.com

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