At Dropbox Open London today, the company announced "Project Infinite," a new feature of the popular document transferring app that will save space on a user's local hard drive thanks to the implementation of a new cloud storage feature.
With Infinite, both cloud files and locally saved files will cohabitate in the traditional location within Finder on Macs, letting users decide which take up storage space and which stay in the cloud.
Documents saved in the cloud will be marked with a tiny icon referencing their storage location, but there won't be any kind of laborious download process if a user needs to quickly gain access to anything not directly saved on their computer. Cloud files will sync on demand when a user clicks on them, displaying them in the same way as locally stored files. If a file will be needed in a location lacking an Internet connection, users can choose to "Save local copy" and download the cloud file for later.
In Project Infinite's introduction video, the company gives the example of a shared company Dropbox folder with upwards of 10 terabytes of data synced inside. On the desktop of one user, however, the folder is taking up just 28 megabytes of data thanks to the inclusion of cloud storage.
The company also mentioned that Project Infinite supports all platforms that Dropbox is available on, and even includes backwards-compatibility "on any computer running Windows 7 or higher, or Mac OS X 10.9 and up." So a file saved by a team member on Windows 8, for instance, can be viewed as a placeholder cloud file on another user's iMac, and then downloaded to their hard drive.
Project Infinite will enable users to seamlessly and securely access all their Dropbox files from the desktop, regardless of how much space they have available on their hard drives. Everything in the company’s Dropbox that you’re given access to, whether it’s stored locally or in the cloud, will show up in Dropbox on your desktop. If it’s synced locally, you’ll see the familiar green checkmark, while everything else will have a new cloud icon.
Dropbox's aim for Project Infinite appears to be enterprise focused, but the company's blog post mentioned that it has "more product announcements to come throughout the year," following the launch of its new storage-saving cloud feature. Project Infinite is currently being tested among a select number of Dropbox sponsors, but no word has yet been given regarding a specific wide launch.