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Facebook Groups Gain Dropbox-Based File Sharing

by Glenn Fleishman

Facebook Groups may be used for all sorts of purposes: neighborhood exchanges, kids’ sports teams, Wiccan circles, and much more, as long as everyone has a Facebook account. As you know from any sort of digital group to which you belong, it’s often useful to share files among members, such as documents and schedules. Facebook has tapped Dropbox to provide an additional option.

Facebook Groups already let you click Add File in a new post and choose a document from local storage to be uploaded and linked to the post for others to download. In a change being rolled out to users — and, thus, you may not see it yet when you log into Facebook — a new option to add files from Dropbox will also appear. Any linked files are available for viewing and download, just as with local files. But what sets this new feature apart is that what people are actually getting is a link to the file on Dropbox, so if the file changes in the Dropbox folder, everyone who subsequently downloads it gets the latest version. Even better, if the owner of the Dropbox file makes a change, group members receive a notification, so they can return and download it again.

This Facebook feature works very much like Dropbox’s existing public-file sharing feature: a token-based URL is exposed in Facebook and can be copied and distributed without providing access to any other files in the owner’s Dropbox account.

When the rollout is complete (over the coming days, Dropbox says), all Facebook Groups members will see a Dropbox link, and will have the option to link in a Dropbox account.

Dropbox offers free accounts that include a paltry 2 GB of storage (compared with 5 GB for Google Drive and 7 GB for Microsoft SkyDrive), but adding photos and referring new users can increase your free storage to as much as 18 GB. If you need more space, Dropbox has paid plans starting at $10 per month for 100 GB of storage.


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Unless otherwise noted, this article is copyright © 2012 TidBITS Publishing, Inc.Published in TidBITS on 2012-09-26.
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