During the Dropbox Open conference held in London today, the company announced "Project Infinite", or the next big step in the evolution of the cloud storage services. Cloud storage, in general, shares the same characteristics across the board, and one of the issues – or rather shortcomings – that most cloud storage services have in common is the fact that the ongoing file management systems for cloud-based services don't allow users to access their cloud-stored files through their local file explorers on their devices. However, Dropbox Inc. intends to change this with the introduction of Project Infinite.
From our understanding, Project Infinite can be described as a new file management system for Dropbox, which will allow 500+ million users to access their stored files directly through their file explorers, regardless if they use Windows Explorer on Windows, or the Finder on Mac. As the system currently stands, in order for cloud-based files to be accessible through a file explorer, the respective files need to be stored in the cloud, as well as on the local hard drive / SSD. This can, and has caused a lot of frustration among Dropbox users because, simply put, the ongoing system can defeat the purpose of relying on a cloud storage service to free up local storage. Of course, this can be avoided by accessing the cloud-based files through an Internet browser and skipping the file explorer altogether, but the idea behind Project Infinite is to allow users to view and manage their files in the cloud directly from their local file explorers, without having to create a local duplicate of the said files. Once Project Infinite will be set into place, Dropbox users will be able to view their files regardless if they are stored in the cloud, on the local storage, or network drives. Files stored in the cloud will be accompanied by a cloud icon and will be accessible from the unified Dropbox folder without having to download them or launch the Internet browser, whereas local backups will be identified by a green check mark.
As mentioned above, Dropbox's Project Infinite was unveiled today and no availability details have been revealed. With that in mind, it might take a while before Dropbox will implement the new system, but once it does it might set a new standard for other cloud storage providers, who may be "forced" to develop a similar system in order to keep up with the competition.