Dropbox introduces Carousel photo-sharing app, we investigate how it stacks up.

by Felix Esser

posted Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 2:30 PM EST

Among all the new functions that Dropbox introduced today, there was one specifically aimed at photographers. It goes by the name Carousel, and Dropbox touts it as "a home for your life's memories." Just like all other Dropbox apps, Carousel builds upon the company's cloud storage, and it enables its users to easily backup and share their photographic ventures. However, before you think of ditching your Flickr account for this, there are some things to consider.

First of all, Carousel is intended solely for mobile devices. Available for both iOS and Android, the Carousel app will automatically sync the photos on your smartphone with your Dropbox account, and vice-versa. This way, not only will you always have backups of all photos taken with your smartphone, you'll also be able to access all other photos in your Dropbox account, no matter whether they were taken with a smartphone, digital camera or scanned from negatives or prints.

The same, by the way, goes for videos. Within the app, photos and videos are sorted by date, which Dropbox thinks is more important that sorting by category or specific user-defined events, for example. This, of course, is up to debate. Furthermore, Dropbox claims you now can "finally have your entire life’s memories in one place," because "Carousel isn’t constrained by the space on your phone." We're scratching our heads over this one a bit.

For one, those of us that grew up with film will hardly go ahead and scan all our old film photos just to have them take up Dropbox space an appear on our mobile device. Then, currently the standard size of Dropbox's free accounts is 2.5 GB. Your typical smartphone comes with 16 GB of memory, and many devices can be extended by up to 128 GB with the latest microSDXC cards. Currently, 100 GB storage on Dropbox will run you a minimum of $99/year. If you really want to keep a "lifetime's" memory on Dropbox, you can do the math of how much it'll cost you in the long run.

So, who is Carousel really for? As a preliminary assessment, we'd say Carousel is best suited for those who either already own a Dropbox pro account (and have it stuffed with pictures and/or video), or who really only want to back up their smartphone pictures quickly and easily. As for sharing of galleries and individual photos, Dropbox surely is a great way to do that. But you can just as well do that via Google Drive and Google+, where you get 15 GB for free. And finally, there also is Flickr, which gives you a whopping 1 TB for free.

However, where Carousel has the edge on most other image sharing services is that it lets you make specific sets of photos and videos available only to specific people, just as you can with any other content in your Dropbox. So if you regularly want to share your images with family or friends, and don't want to require them to sign up for, say, Google+ or Flickr, Carousel might be the most convenient way to do so.

Carousel has its own dedicated website, which you can check out here. The app is available now for Android devices in the Google Play Store, and for iOS devices in the iTunes App Store.

(via The Dropbox Blog)