Johannes Simon/Getty ImagesDropbox has big plans to become a more serious player in the cloud.
This week it lured 500 programmers to San Francisco for its first-ever developer conference, reports Wired's Robert McMillan.
It's hoping to convince them to write apps that use Dropbox as their storage system.
It's ultimate goal is a lofty one.
“We are replacing the hard drive,” Dropbox CEO Drew Houston told McMillan. “I don’t mean that you’re going to unscrew your MacBook and find a Dropbox inside, but the spiritual successor to the hard drive is what we’re launching.”
Today it announced a new service for developers called Data stores that provides an easy way for apps to save information in the cloud. It could, for example, let the app keep track of your score in a game, keeping your place when move to another device.
This isn't the first developer tool it launched, either. It gave developers a the cutely-named tool called "Drop Ins." It lets websites easily move files into/out of a Dropbox account. Drop-Ins is how Yahoo linked its 300 million Yahoo Mail accounts to Dropbox back in April.
If all of this sounds a little familiar, it should. Dropbox's biggest rival, Box, is also working with developers to become your next generation hard drive. And it's years ahead of Dropbox.
Box already has "tens of thousands" of developers using Box as a hard drive for applications, or tying into its other collaboration tools, a company spokesperson told Business Insider.
There will be room for both of these cloud storage players, and probably many others, as "billions of dollars " shift from old fashioned-storage, like your hard drive, to the cloud, CEO Aaron Levie told Business Insider in an emailed statement.
"With this transition, we're seeing the rise of a diverse and competitive ecosystem," Levie said.
Plus Dropbox seems, for now, geared toward consumer-oriented apps where Box is "laser focused" on the enterprise, Levie says.
Between the two of them,we're looking at world where all your apps — for work and play — just work, no matter what device you use to access them. That's a few years off but it's coming.
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