Dropbox launches Carousel photo app to organize every shot you ever take

The cloud storage company is trying to tackle our photo overload with Carousel, a universal photo album that's stored in the cloud and syncs across multiple devices.

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Mailbox co-founder Gentry Underwood, now part of Dropbox, onstage at the company's launch of Carousel. Nick Statt/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cloud storage company Dropbox wants to not only be a backup destination for all of our photos, but now also a primary way we share and display them. With Carousel, an iOS and Android app released Wednesday, Dropbox created a way to collect every photo you've ever taken and stored online alongside every shot you snap from here on out.

Carousel, which rounded out a robust series of announcements from Dropbox today, will store users' photos online in their Dropbox accounts, and thus will sync across devices. With a click wheel at the bottom of the app displaying the year and month, users can scroll through time to find photos dating back as far as the earliest shot stored in your account.

For Gentry Underwood, co-founder of email management mobile app Mailbox, which was purchased by Dropbox last year, that meant as far back as 1976. Underwood also demonstrated the app's speedy syncing as he snapped photos of the crowd and displayed them popping up in real time on both iOS and Android smartphones.

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Dropbox

With Carousel, users will be able to share collections of photos -- in the case of Underwood's demo, hundreds at a single time -- with email and phone contact lists. "We designed this to feel like chat...to feel like SMS," Underwood said.

Key to Carousel is the fact that no photos are stored on your devices, meaning the company hopes that not only will current Dropbox users see Carousel as a more viable solution to automatic syncing of mobile photos -- services provided already by Yahoo's Flickr app and Google's Google+ app -- but perhaps will need to buy more storage as well. Dropbox currently gives users 2GB of storage for free, but charges $9.99 per month for every 100GB of storage purchased.

Diversifying how it makes money and expanding its user base are central to Dropbox's run-up to its much-anticipated initial public offering. The company's news comes on the heels of competitor Box's IPO announcement. The more enterprise-focused cloud collaboration and storage company hopes to raise $250 million later this month, while Dropbox has yet to drop any concrete hints regarding its plans to go public.

In the meantime, Dropbox has not slowed down its accumulation of funding. In February, the company reportedly closed a Series C round for $350 million to put it at more than $600 million in venture capital-raised funding, valuing the company at $10 billion. And just last week, Dropbox lined up $500 million in borrowing, a healthy credit facility that put its total funding amount at more than $1.1 billion.

 

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