Want to store and collaborate on files online? Free online storage provider Box.net is branching out in new directions, opening up its application to work with a slew of other services. In addition to storing and sharing files, new OpenBox services let you do everything from editing images to working on files within online productivity applications.
OpenBox lets you do several types of new tasks with your files through integration with other services, and users can collaborate on files using the partner services. You can do online editing with Zoho, document signing with EchoSign, CAD previewing with Autodesk Freewheel, working within the ThinkFree productivity suite, cropping photos with Picnik, sending content to Twitter, and more.
The full list of partners who work with OpenBox is currently Autodesk, Echosign, eFax, Myxer, Picnik, Scribd, Snipshot, Thinkfree, Twitter, Zazzle and Zoho. The additional services that work with Box.net are available through an “OpenBox services” link atop Box’s interface.
Box.net has posted a page that explains how OpenBox works. If you are registered with Box.net, you can pick partner services to add, and you can also remove them by accessing a list.
If you’ve already used Box.net for uploading and sharing files, what OpenBox does is let you customize what you’re uploading and sharing. For example, you might upload an image to your Box account and be able to edit it online with Picnik, send it to a friend on Facebook, add a link to it on Twitter, and turn it into a custom t-shirt on Zazzle. Previously, you could send someone a link to the file or send the file itself, but not customize and edit it online.
Developers are also being invited to integrate their applications as OpenBox services. By visiting http://www.Box.net/services/developers, third-party services can either work with the Box.net open API, or define their service’s existing API format to work seamlessly with Box.net.
A free account with Box.net earns you 1GB of storage space—significantly less than what you get if you use some other services or load the Gspace extension into Firefox and use 4GB of Gmail space to store files. However, OpenBox lets you do much more than just store your files. OpenBox looks like a compelling way to store files online, collaborate with others on them, and customize the content within them using partner services. If developers sign on to make more applications available for use with it, it will be even more useful.
Do you have any tips on good online storage and collaboration tools?