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Summary:

As these things go, Box.net is an old-timer among cloud file storage options, having been around for four years now. Without a network sync component like Windows LiveSync (aka FolderShare) and DropBox, Box.net competes by focusing on reliability and accessibility. Once a file is uploaded to […]

box_logoAs these things go, Box.net is an old-timer among cloud file storage options, having been around for four years now.

Without a network sync component like Windows LiveSync (aka FolderShare) and DropBox, Box.net competes by focusing on reliability and accessibility. Once a file is uploaded to Box.net, it’s easy to grab and edit from any desktop browser or mobile device. The service is consistently fast and available. Plans range from free to enterprise solutions. While the free version is functional with 1 GB of storage space, it may be worth the upgrade to the $7.95/month Individual plan for the faster uploads alone. It’s significantly faster than any FTP server I’ve ever used.

After keeping the same look and feel for years, Box.net recently refreshed their interface and introduced the ability to create documents directly on the site.

The new look shows more info about a folder at a glance. Before you had to click on a drop-down menu to work with a file/folder; now most of that info is right in the sidebar. This makes it much easier to collaborate on assets.

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They’ve also introduced the ability to create documents on the fly. Previously, you had to create your document in another application and then upload to Box.net. Now, you have no need to jump out of Box.net for simple additions.

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It’s not meant to replace Google Docs or Zoho or any on- or offline word processor. For starters, you can’t import or export files. But all the basic WYSIWYG editing functionality is there. Don’t think of it as an online Microsoft Word, think of it as an online Notepad or TextEdit.

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Truth be told, the value of this feature is limited. You certainly wouldn’t use it for complex documents. But, if the file is not explicitly shared, it is locked even to collaborators. So it could be useful if you want to write more information/instruction than can fit in the sidebar comments and you don’t want your collaborators to remove or edit the file.

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The significant weakness of Box.net is its lack of an offline feature. If you don’t have Internet access, you are not getting to your files. The company has hinted that they have something cooking in that direction, but until then it’s important to keep a local copy of any files that you might have to access on a moment’s notice.

What service do you you use for cloud storage?

  1. GoEverywhere leverages Box.net for our “My Safe Files” portion of the personal online workspace. This allows users to securely upload files outside of programs like Google Docs, Zoho, and Preezo.

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  2. living in a box is fine for some, but FilesAnywhere still tops my charts in web file storage – they have an idiot-proof sync tool.

    I keep on the prowl for the latest cloud service, but so far no reason to switch. check it out
    http://www.FilesAnywhere.com.

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  3. I used to use MobileMe but it was too expensive and then I swapped to Amazon S3 which was cheap but no cool features, and then I found SMEStorage.com. I use my Amazon account with them through something they call OpenS3, but they also allow cloud mashups so I have a combined S3+Gmail cloud storage mashup which is pretty slick as I see everything in one virtual file system.

    You never really hear of SMEStorage in these posts. I don’t know why as they support S3, Mosso, Box.net, Gmail and email-as-a-cloud. They integrate with Twitter, Zoho Docs, Picnik, Scribd iPaper and have firefox plug-in, Windows tooling (with sync and virtual drive) as well as iPhone version etc. It is a good product and best of all free !

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  4. WW and Steven Peters, are you employed by those companies?

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  5. I use Sugarsync for backups and to keep my computers in sync, it works great! I looked at box.net and so far it looks really nice, I can’t wait to try it out with some clients. And for data syncing for an app like Things I use Dropbox. I use MobileMe to keep my iphone and macs in sync, I tried iDisk, but it’s way to slow..

    Do you think there are better options out there?

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  6. [...] file storage app Box.net (previously covered on WWD)  today announced some nifty new features that should prove useful, particularly if [...]

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