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SAN FRANCISCO, Collaboration suite Dropbox has been celebrating focus and clarity, as the themes of its annual ‘Work In Progress ‘ conference, rolling out some new features to match.

At a refreshingly stripped back and focused conference (coincidence?) we were introduced to Dropbox Spaces, the firms attempt to rid us of the constant flitting between umpteen different apps and losing that train of thought.

The idea is pretty simple – instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, Dropbox has added integrations to popular apps you actually use, like Slack and Google Docs, meaning you can access them all from a single interface, thus doing away with the constant flicking between windows and forgetting where you were.

Of course, the fact that Dropbox is at the heart of all your services is both convenient for you and especially convenient for Dropbox, naturally.

Amongst the features, there’s an AI-powered image search function, and the ability to preview files in specialist file types like AutoCAD without actually installing the original app.

Fans of Dropbox’s collaborative project app, Paper, will be pleased to see its been properly integrated with the main Dropbox file system.

Calendars from Google and Microsoft can be integrated into your Dropbox workflow and a full extension for HelloSign makes it easy to get digital signatures from your irritating colleagues. The boxes are even colour coded so even Thicky Smith in the postroom won’t sign in the wrong box.

All this loveliness is flanked by a new desktop app, which means that if you’re minded, you can boot into Dropbox in the morning and not leave it all day, apart from to play Minesweeper.

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“We’re building the smart workspace because we need technology that helps us quiet the noise, rather than contributing to it,” said Drew Houston, Founder and CEO, Dropbox.

“This starts with the launch of Dropbox Spaces, which brings together your most important content and tools into one organized place, so you can stay focused and in sync with your team.”

Also announced today were several beta features coming soon. These include People Pages, a way of keeping track of activity by team member as well as messaging and chat.

Dropbox Binder will be released in beta later this year, offering a “centralised source of truth”, to whit. a repository for documents that can act as a knowledge base for all your company’s rules and processes.

Integration with project management tool Trello, a file transfer facility for files up to 100GB, mapping Dropbox folders to Slack channels and instant Zoom video meetings without leaving Dropbox are all in the pipeline too.

The day continued its theme of focus with some neat little features – no external exhibitors hawking their synergistic plugin, no painful attempts to get the audience involved in some misguided sing-song. Some of the smaller stages were ‘silent’ in that, rather than trying to drown each other out, there was no PA, instead, the audience dons headphones!

Even the catering reflected focus and decluttering. Though we’re not sure that the spiced seaweed was an acceptable substitute for a good old fashioned Kettle Chip – but the point is that there was clearly some thought to practice in the real world what Dropbox is trying to do in the digital world.

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The day finished with a stirring keynote from someone we had to agree not to report on. Let’s just say her name wasn’t Barrack. ‘Becoming’ clear? µ

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