Since its launch in 2007, cloud storage service Dropbox has grown in popularity at a staggering rate, with the company announcing today that the service is now in the hands of 175 million users worldwide. In addition, the company announced its forward-looking plans to be the replacement to your hard drive. Or, at least, external hard drives, flash drives, and any other storage device you might currently favor.

“We are replacing the hard drive,” says Dropbox CEO Drew Houston to Wired.

“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.”

The news arrived out of the company’s first ever cloud-centric developer conference, DBX, which kicked off early this morning in San Francisco. Dropbox expects over 500 programmers to attend the event and sit in on developer-centric conversations, and to introduce them to their latest creation: Drop-ins.

These new plugins of sorts make it easier for Dropbox users to save and upload files to and from websites, mobile apps, and devices. A proper use of Drop-ins would be functionally useful ‘Save to Dropbox’ and ‘Share from Dropbox’ buttons on Internet sites. Imagine being able to send and share files seamlessly via Dropbox on Facebook pages, directly from Tweets, or off an article on a really fantastic technology website, and you’ve got Drop-ins.

This functionality is already present in Yahoo services (as of April 2013), which allows Yahoo’s webmail to be weaved with Dropbox upload/download support for easier file transfer. Houston says “it’s really kind of a save button for the post-PC world.”

Other sites like Shutterstock, Check, Outbox, and Loudr are already working on implementations of the Drop-ins technology.

Finally, Dropbox will showcase to developers today a new application programming interface for Dropbox, which will allow developers to store their Dropbox-linked software’s metadata. They’re calling this new feature Datastores, and it’s “Dropbox’s way of moving beyond files and storing other information,” according to Houston.

This could mean a lot for mobile applications and games, especially if you’re a consumer who has multiple devices linked to Dropbox. Should your phone power down during a game of Angry Birds or while filling out a spreadsheet, you could feasibly pull out your tablet and continue work and play where you left off.

These features are of course a ways away, since developers have yet to get the tech in their hands yet, let alone in their software, but the future is bright. And if everything goes well, Dropbox could very well be leading the charge towards that bright future — a bright future based in the cloud.

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