Dropbox first infiltrated customers’ computers with a seamless approach to syncing local folders with remote servers. Now the consumer-focused file storage company has set its sights on equally valuable real estate: customers’ inboxes.
Dropbox for Gmail, still in beta, entered the Google Chrome store earlier today. The free extension allows users to insert Dropbox files into emails with just one click, in the same way that Google Drive operates.
The extension is designed for a world in which files and applications increasingly live within web browsers. Once upon a time, customers downloaded software to their hard drives and worked offline. Now, they access software via URL.
Google won first-mover advantage in this new world of browser software with Google Apps, and doubled down on that success by introducing Google Drive in 2012 as the default file storage and sharing choice for its millions of Gmail users. In the last two years, Drive has won 240 million customers, bringing it within shouting distance of Dropbox’s 300 million.
As Fortune notes, Dropbox makes money only when customers upgrade to premium accounts with more data storage, so the more they can get people relying on their service, the better for their bottom line. Google, by contrast, makes money from ad impressions, with the goal of serving more and better ads over time.
Dropbox introduced Yahoo mailbox integration in 2013, not long after it released an app enabling users to download directly to Dropbox from Chrome. This is the first time Dropbox has been integrated with Gmail, however.