Dropbox has had APIs for years that enable companies to tap into content stored in their repositories, and they have had partnerships with large vendors like Adobe, Google, Autodesk and Microsoft. Today, the company announced Dropbox Extensions to enhance the ability to build workflows and integrations with third-party partners.
Quentin Clark, SVP of engineering, product and design at Dropbox, says they have long recognized the need to take the content stored in their repositories and provide ways to integrate it with other tools people are using. “We are on this journey to help this broader ecosystem get the most value possible. Extensions is another way to remove friction and allow better engagement,” Clark said.
He said that while APIs could pick up content, do something with it and put it into Dropbox, Extensions allows users to take action directly in Dropbox. This is part of a broader trend we are seeing in enterprise tools to keep the user where they are without forcing them to explicitly open another app to complete a task.
It also introduces to certain processes a level of automation that was missing. As an example, in a Dropbox Extensions integration with eSignature services Adobe Sign, DocuSign or HelloSign, you could have a contract stored in Dropbox, send it to various parties for signature and the signed document gets returned to Dropbox automatically once all the signatures have been collected. What’s more, the person who initiated the process gets a notification that the process is complete.
The integrations with today’s release include the ability to edit video in Vimeo, edit images in Pixlr, edit PDFs in Nitro, airSlate and Smallpdf and send faxes with HelloFax (for people who still fax stuff). Clark says these initial integrations were not random. They were chosen because they were hearing from customers that these were tools they wanted to see have deeper integration with Dropbox.
Clark says the partnership team at Dropbox will continue to look for other uses for Extensions, but that it takes a concerted effort on the part of the engineering team to build in meaningful integrations. “We prioritize based on common users,” he said.
While they are announcing Extensions today, it will be generally available later this month (on November 27th). It’s worth noting that it will be available to all users, not just Dropbox’s business customers. Clark says they decided to expose it to everyone to show how to make broader use of Dropbox content beyond pure storage. The company hopes that in doing so, it could drive more users to the business products as they see the value of this integrated approach.