Dropbox has updated its Web and mobile apps to let you add links to your cloud storage. It’s about as strange as it sounds, and it could have been a cool feature, had it been executed better.
On desktop, you can now drag and drop links from any website right into your Dropbox to save it as a .url item. On mobile, you can share links or active Web pages from browsers to Dropbox.
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The trouble is, your .url item has no description, no recognizable icon and no thumbnail preview. This is what I got when I saved a link from our site to my Dropbox account:
And here’s the item preview page:
Why on earth would I want to save links this way? I can’t tell what it’s about, why I saved it or what the destination page looks like. And if I were to use this often, my cloud storage would just contain a huge bunch of links that I wouldn’t know what to do with.
Given that I use Dropbox across all my desktops and mobile devices, it could indeed have served as a good place to stash bookmarks. But the company seems to lost the plot halfway through the development of this feature.
At a minimum, links should automatically name themselves and jump into a default bookmarks folder when added. They should also have a preview image and pull in the favicon from each page, and prompt you to add a label for better organization.
Those are just the basics, and there’s a lot more that can be done to enhance the bookmarking experience. I hope that this is just the first step in Dropbox’s grand plan to build out a full-fledged bookmarking service — but if this is all the service can do with links, I won’t be surprised to see it disappear in a future update for lack of use.