Dropbox may be the cloud storage service that’s synonymous with cloud storage, but it’s always had a catch: Because it syncs everything down to your computer, it scarfs up disk space. And the more you store in Dropbox, the less free disk space you have.
For paying Dropbox Business customers, that’s changing. A new feature called Smart Sync—which the company previewed last April as “Project Infinite”—can show you all your files as part of a Windows PC or Mac’s file system, then snag them from the cloud on demand.
Why is Dropbox only now implementing something so obviously useful? “When you’re dealing with traditional file systems that have so much history, to make something that feels very simple is actually technically challenging,” says Rob Baseman, head of product for Dropbox Pro, Business, and Enterprise. (That’s not just a challenge for Dropbox: Microsoft offered a feature similar to Smart Sync in Windows 8 and then removed it in Windows 10.)
Serious users of Dropbox’s individual-level accounts (such as, ahem, me) will lust after Smart Sync. Baseman says that the company brought it to business customers first because limited local storage is even more of a problem when an entire organization is trying to share vast quantities of files. But the company is actively considering how to roll the feature out to consumers.