On Wednesday, Dropbox released a new feature called “file requests,” allowing users to request and receive files from non-Dropbox users.
The goal is to make sharing big files even easier, and possibly replace email attachments. But the service is cleverly designed in a way that also introduce Dropbox to a ton of new users.
The way it works is pretty simple: users send out file requests by email, and the recipient can upload files up to 2GB in size to a designated Dropbox folder, without having to log in.
For example, teachers can collect homework assignments all in one go, in a single folder, from both existing and non-Dropbox users, forgoing the need to go through multiple email attachments or physical copies.
This could potentially replace email attachments, as it offers bigger file limits and a more convenient way to upload files.
But the bigger play here is to introduce Dropbox to a much larger set of people.
Through one person’s file request, multiple people, some of whom may not be Dropbox users yet, will get to try Dropbox. Dropbox calls it a “many-to-one” sharing model, where a single file request attracts a group users.
That means the new file request feature could play an even bigger role for Dropbox once it becomes available for Dropbox for Business in the next few weeks. (It’s available for Dropbox Basic and Pro users from today.)
Dropbox is counting on Dropbox for Business, its premier service targeting business organisations, to drive major growth. Considering file uploads and sharing is far more common among business users than consumers, Dropbox could tap into a huge untapped market who’ll get introduced to its service for the first time through a simple file request.
Dropbox is by far the most popular file sync and sharing service, with over 300 million users worldwide. It has over 100,000 business users, including MIT, Under Armour, and Hyatt.