Today San Francisco-based email attachments tool Attachments.me announced that it has added an update that lets users upload a file from their computer automatically to Dropbox, Box or Google Drive, and get a link back, allowing users to share files of any size without leaving Gmail, and without sending the file as an attachment. The company also announced that since its beta launch in 2011, it has grown to over 50,000 users. The company has raised $2.5 million to date, $500,000 in seed funding from Foundry Group in March 2011, and $1.5 million in Series A funding from the same investor in April 2012.
Right now Attachments.me only works with Gmail, though it can access that service via a Chrome extension, Google Apps version, iPhone app, and web app. It crawls and indexes a user’s attachments, allowing them to search attachments by full text, or as thumbnail images. Users can automatically send attachments to cloud storage services Dropbox, Box and Google Drive, and share files with a link from those tools. With today’s updates, users can also upload a native file on their computer to their cloud storage account, and share with a link in their email.
Co-founder Jesse Miller said today’s new file-sharing features were prompted by the success of their existing integrations with file-sharing services. “Since our ‘share a link from Dropbox/Box/Drive’ feature was so popular, we had been thinking about ways to make it more powerful,” Miller said in an interview. “This just seemed like a natural extension.”
Miller compared the new features to Mac email client Sparrow’s Dropbox integration, but done directly in Gmail instead of an outside client. After Google’s recent acquisition of Sparrow, it stands to reason that Gmail could integrate that functionality into their email client, but Miller speculates it would likely only work with Google Drive if that happened.
File-sharing services like Dropbox already allow users to share files with just a link, but Miller believes that for people who spend a lot of time in their email, being able to add and share files within their email client is a big productivity boost. “There are certain information workers whose entire day is spent in email,” he said. “Small productivity improvements like this not only save them time directly, but also save them from context switching.”
Though right now Attachments.me only works with Gmail, Miller told BetaKit in April 2012 that the company was talking to a few potential partners to integrate into their email clients, as well as working on apps for iPad and Android, and adding extensions for Safari and Firefox. Miller declined to share any launch dates for additional email providers, saying “we’ve got enough work on our plate with just Gmail.”
Miller also hinted at moving beyond just email attachment search to build additional productivity apps, though he said they would be focused on attachments for the next year. He said they’ve already branched out from just helping users find their attachments quickly and easily. “I think our tool has already moved beyond just attachment discovery, to being something that changes how people share files in email,” he said. “We’ve still got a lot we want to build around that idea of connecting email with cloud storage and making that connection as useful to users as possible.”
While originally the company charged for their Google Apps edition, it’s now free, and the company will be adding premium accounts sometime this fall. In terms of how Miller plans to attract the next 50,000 users to the service, he said they are adding some features to make it more naturally viral. While Gmail has its own attachment search capabilities, it doesn’t offer the same functionality as Attachments.me, nor the same integration with cloud storage services. The company will need to branch out to additional email providers to really ramp up its user base, and as Miller hinted in April, move beyond just email attachments to other productivity tools.