Facebook Groups get Dropbox integration for more flexible file sharing

Facebook and Dropbox today announce the integration of the cloud storage service to allow users to easily share Dropbox files with people in their Facebook Groups.

Now when users select “Add File” from the Groups publisher, they will have an option to choose a file from Dropbox. The first time users do this, they will have to connect their Dropbox and Facebook accounts, if they have not done so already. Then, any document, photo or video file they share will show up on the group’s wall and can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet. Group members can like or comment on file posts, just as they can with other group posts. When users make edits to files they’ve shared, the group will get an update automatically.

Group members are able to see a user’s post with the link to the file but do not have access to the rest of the person’s Dropbox. Dropbox creates a unique token used only in that link, however, group members can copy the link and share the file elsewhere.

The feature helps make Facebook Groups more flexible and efficient for team collaboration as well as personal sharing. Dropbox suggests the examples of students sharing notes with their study group, a coach sharing the latest game schedule with his basketball team’s group, or someone posting a birthday video to a family group.

The social network first gave school-specific groups native file-sharing capabilities in April, and then began to roll it out to all groups in May. Natively shared documents within a group can be public or available to members-only based on the original privacy setting of the group. Public groups cannot make individual files members-only without making the entire group “closed” or “private.”

Dropbox offers users 2 GB of storage for free, with opportunities to gain more free storage by referring friends to the service. The company also offers plans starting at $9.99 a month for additional storage. The new groups integration could help raise awareness and usage of the service among Facebook users, as the prompt to upload Dropbox files will appear to everyone even if they haven’t already created an account.

TechCrunch notes that Dropbox VP of Engineering Aditya Agarwal once served as director of engineering at Facebook. The company has previously allowed users to connect with Facebook to share files with friends, but it did not have integration with groups. Dropbox has 1.3 million monthly active Facebook-connected users, according to AppData.

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