Dropbox has confirmed that it will be ending public folder support from the beginning of August, though the change will only impact new accounts and new public shares. "After July 31, 2012, we will no longer create Public folders in any new Dropbox accounts" the company said today, having emailed developers with the news last night. "Public folders in existing accounts, however, will continue to function as before."
"In April, we launched the ability to share any file or folder in your Dropbox with a simple link" Dropbox wrote on its company blog. "This new sharing mechanism is a more generalized, scalable way to support many of the same use cases as the Public folder ... If your app depends on Public folders, we recommend switching to the /shares API call."
News of the change was first reported by German site Mobiflip, and prompted some criticism from Dropbox users. Although the public link functionality is a rough approximation of the public folders, it doesn't offer direct linking to individual files. Instead, users - who need not be registered with Dropbox - are taken to a webpage that offers download links to those files.
Dropbox has not given any explicit reasons for its change in policy, beyond the newer linking system being "more generalized" and "scalable."