The rise of SSDs has brought about a small revolution in the speed and responsiveness of PCs, but those drives' capacities can be an obstacle for folks with huge collections of files. That's especially true on entry-level laptops or tablets, where 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage is fairly common. Dropbox and other cloud services offer a way around those capacity limits by offering tons of cloud storage, but syncing files to a local folder from those cloud services still eats up disk space.
Today, Dropbox is previewing a way around this problem. Its "Project Infinite" feature puts shortcuts to remote files in the user's local Dropbox folder, allowing the user to see those files without actually storing them on the local machine. Those remote files are then downloaded on demand when the user opens them, ensuring that only the stuff one actually needs occupies local storage.
If Project Infinite sounds familiar, it's because Microsoft used to offer a similar technology with Placeholders for OneDrive. The company removed that feature with the release of Windows 10, though, citing user confusion for the change. That's fair, considering that users could understandably be frustrated with local-looking files that actually need an internet connection to work. Given that problem, we have to wonder how Project Infinite works with larger files and slow network connections. Still, for power users or organizations that have tons of files that need to be shared among many users, like the 10TB folder Dropbox offers as an example for the feature, Project Infinite could offer a convenient path to that data without filling up users' precious disk space.