FORTUNE -- Last week, cloud file storage company Dropbox unveiled an array of new tools designed to capture a greater share of your online life.
The new applications included tweaked versions of Mailbox, the e-mail app Dropbox acquired last year, and Carousel, a photo application for iOS and Android that lets its users browse and share images stored in their cloud accounts.
What CEO Drew Houston dubbed "Chapter Two" for his company seems to be a push to evolve well beyond its core business of file-sharing. Last year's purchase of Mailbox appeared to be a tack-on acquisition at the time, albeit one that made sense given both services are based around cloud-based data transfer.
But Carousel is Dropbox's third app, and it feels like a serious attempt to expand what the definition of Dropbox is to its 275 million users. It's not just about ditching traditional storage mediums -- the reason Houston co-founded Dropbox to begin with -- it's about making Dropbox "a home for all of your important stuff," as Houston describes it.
In Houston's eyes, that means broadening Dropbox's feature set but taking those features and focusing them into different experiences.
"It's hard to do something well in just one app, so with something like Carousel, we're very much putting the focus on offering a good experience with your photos," he said last week. Facebook (FB) appears to be taking the same approach to product expansion.
I wouldn't be surprised if Dropbox continued in this vein. After all, file-syncing itself can only be so compelling. Uber is currently redefining what it means to "Uber," having expanded from picking up and dropping off passengers to, more recently, a "Rush" online delivery service being tested in Manhattan, a service CEO Travis Kalanick has repeatedly hinted at. Likewise, Dropbox as a service and a verb has the potential to apply to an entire suite of cloud-based utility services.
For now, it may just store and sync your Word Documents, but what if, say, Dropbox offered a free, built-in dedicated word processor that had the ease of use of Microsoft Word and emulated the collaboration of the cloud word processor Quip? Users could chat inside the app as they highlight, make instant edits, and so on. Dropbox engagement would go through the roof.
Indeed, Dropbox wouldn't just be a feature, or even a set of features -- a criticism the company has received. Instead, it would be a compelling productivity suite people spend quality time in, enterprise or otherwise.
As Dropbox looks to redefine itself, the recent appointment of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors may represent a temporary challenge.
The move is controversial, given that Rice helped justify warrantless wiretapping by the NSA and now holds one of just four director positions on the board of a company responsible for loads of sensitive user data. It drew the ire of Internet protesters, who took to cyberspace last week to denounce the move, launching an online petition and using Twitter to lobby Dropbox to drop Rice from its board. Some protesters have even threatened to ditch Dropbox and built a "Drop Dropbox" protest page, calling Rice's selection "deeply disturbing."
Houston doesn't see it that way, of course: "She has all these incredible leadership experiences in different contexts, so she can make all these connections that no one else we had talked to could," Houston told Fortune last week, referring to Rice's political track record and current roles, including a position at Stanford University as a professor of political science.
Last Friday, he reiterated Dropbox's mission to keep user data safe and secure: "We should have been clearer that none of this is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment to our Board," Houston added in a blog post.
What Rice brings to Dropbox is years of experience around privacy, surveillance, and international affairs, all of which probably seemed compelling to Houston. Assuming she watches out for the best interests of Dropbox and its users, Rice could prove to be an asset to the startup as it continues to expand globally. If Rice doesn't, well, she could always be dropped.
Cloud-storage startup adopts a multi-app approach, taking on big tech players such as Facebook and Google.
FORTUNE -- Dropbox, the popular cloud-storage company, is aiming high.
At a press conference in San Francisco Wednesday, CEO Drew Houston announced what he likes to call the company's "Chapter 2" -- an initiative that seeks to position the startup he founded eight years ago as the go-to suite of services for data storage.
The event included a MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Apr 9, 2014 3:38 PM ET
Dropbox has another $350 million in the bank, and more may be on the way.
FORTUNE -- Last month, reports surfaced that Dropbox had raised $250 million from Blackrock (BLK) in its final round of private funding before embarking on its highly anticipated IPO. Follow-up articles noted the round could go up to $400 million, with contributions from existing investors T. Rowe Price and Fidelity.
Now we have an SEC filing with some MOREErin Griffith - Feb 24, 2014 2:17 PM ET
The two cloud storage startups can be easily confused.
FORTUNE -- Quick -- name a cloud-based, file-sharing provider that's expected to go public later this year and has the word "box" in its name. (Hint: there's more than one right answer.)
Whether you guessed Box or Dropbox, you're correct. That's because, on the surface, the two appear to be very similar companies, especially now that both startups are nearing their respective IPOs MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Feb 24, 2014 1:06 PM ET
Dropbox grabs Google's Motorola Mobility boss, Dennis Woodside.
FORTUNE -- Dennis Woodside ran Motorola Mobility for Google, but apparently he won't be doing the same for Lenovo.
Just weeks after Google (GOOG) agreed to sell the money-losing unit for $2.9 billion, Woodside has agreed to join storage company Dropbox as its chief operating officer.
Dropbox has raised $507 million in venture capital funding. Its most recent deal, a $250 $350 million Series C round that valued MOREErin Griffith - Feb 13, 2014 10:24 AM ET
We sit down with chief executive (and one-time "Peanut Butter Manifesto" author) Brad Garlinghouse.
FORTUNE—Hightail, the file-sharing company formerly known as YouSendIt, has raised $34 million in new funding. The nine-year-old startup has been around much longer than newer entrants like Dropbox or Box, but recently it sought to revamp its image and differentiate its product features in order to stand out in an increasingly competitive market in which larger companies MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Nov 19, 2013 11:59 AM ET
The file-syncing startup is reportedly seeking to raise hundreds of millions at an astronomical valuation.
FORTUNE -- Just how much does Dropbox need to fuel an aggressive push into the enterprise space? $250 million, if a report today is correct.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the rapidly-expanding file-syncing business is looking to raise $250 million at an $8 billion valuation in the next few weeks. That would price it higher than other promising MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Nov 18, 2013 7:26 PM ET
The file-syncing startup wants you to mix business and pleasure.
FORTUNE -- If you're a working professional and Dropbox user, you're in luck. With the revamped Dropbox for Business, accessing -- and separating -- your business and personal content on the cloud storage startup should soon be a quicker, simpler process.
At a San Francisco press event earlier Wednesday, Dropbox demonstrated how its business tool enables users to link together and securely MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Nov 13, 2013 3:37 PM ET
File-sharing company Egnyte wants businesses worried about data security to embrace the cloud.
FORTUNE -- From college students distributing documents for a class to CEOs working on their Powerpoint presentations on the train, most people are familiar with and depend on cloud storage to make file sharing a breeze. While brands like Dropbox and Box have become household names for cloud storage, a new company is trying to take secure cloud MOREChanelle Bessette - Sep 30, 2013 12:08 PM ET
Ex-AOL and Yahoo exec Brad Garlinghouse gives his file-sharing service a makeover.
FORTUNE – What do you do with a nine-year-old file-sharing service that trails behind startups like Dropbox and Box? If you're Palo Alto-based YouSendIt CEO Brad Garlinghouse, you change the name, experience, and pricing. With "Hightail," Garlinghouse hopes to attract new users but also have a name hip enough to turn into a user catchphrase.
"We wanted to choose a MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jul 10, 2013 2:12 PM ET
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