Box.net evolves, say hello to OpenBox

Box, a long-time favorite mentioned in Box.net as a collaborative file manager, has evolved into OpenBox adding new features which would tie the service into your other favorite web based applications and services.

At its core, OpenBox provides universal connectedness for data on the web, a trend we’re seeing in other spaces like social networking. By bridging services and applications online, we can enhance the user experience and allow complete flexibility with your files, fundamentally making files stored online more useful than those on a local computer.

Starting today, November 13th, Box users can use, access, share, and manipulate their photos with popular services like Echosign, Autodesk, Zoho, ThinkFree, Scribd, PicNik, Zazzle, Mimeo, Twitter, and Myxer. In December, Box plans on launching Open platform allowing any 3rd party application to build and publish on OpenBox.

OpenBox - Select your services

OpenBox raises Box to a completely new level as a virtual file sharing / hosting service which now makes it easier to leave behind your desktop applications. With computer hardware like the Asus Eee PC 4G and its paltry 1.2GB of free disk space, Box looks more and more like a viable solution for increasing limited storage with 5GB to 15GB.

It is no longer JUST virtual file access and sharing

Rather than building their own productivity tools, Box leverages the power of existing services online.

  • Imagine uploading an image to Box, adjusting colors & removing blemishes with PicNik, and returning to Box to copy a URL suitable for sharing OR sending the photo to Zazzle for printing.
  • What if you needed your peers to edit a school document? You could send the document to Zoho, work together editing with classmates, then saving the file back to your Box account.
  • How about the PDF sitting in your office share on Box that needs a certifiable signature? Have the document digitally signed on (previously mentioned) EchoSign.

Although Box was never really a "closed" box with integrated features for file sharing, OpenBox turns Box into an even more appealing solution for moving work and play completely online. Check out OpenBox, rregister your Box account.

What is holding you to your desktop applications(s)?

Is it time to leave behind desktop applications for web based services yet? Now that Box is stepping into the productivity arena with OpenBox – leveraging the power of web tools that already exist, what is holding you back?

Personally, I find myself bouncing back and forth between web services and desktop software. Oftentimes, the reason is as simple as "xx service does not support syncing with my mobile phone". If you have made the transition online, what services do you use? And how do you use them?

Discuss - 5 Comments

  1. Eli says:

    It will be interesting to see the adoption rate of this new platform as compared to S3. I think Amazon’s proven history and “corporate” tone has significant leverage over Box’s youthful image, but their ability to roll out changes and lack of business ties may make for an interesting fight.

    thanks for the review.

  2. Devin Reams says:

    Nice write-up, Derek. It seems the cool thing to do is build platforms these days. In Box’s case I hope it’s used to its potential. I worry a service like this is often overlooked…

  3. Derek says:

    @Eli, when my Asus Eee PC arrives I’m planning on leveraging online services like Box (webdav) or Amazon S3 with Jungle Disk. The only thing that prevents me from really enjoying S3 is how challenging it is to create links that would allow me to share files from S3. Maybe I’ve overlooked the how-to in the documentation? Box by default offers clean URLs and actual file sharing landing pages that you can send contacts to to grab files.

  4. Eli says:

    I agree that S3 is a obfuscated at best. If memory serves me, 37s’s integration of s3 provides for mildly clean URL’s, but they are faux in the truest sense. Attempting to access them directly (locked down or not) is certainly ugly.

    I’ve been experimenting with Tan Tan’s WP S3 implementation, as well as examing the FF plugins. None have really nailed the “UI,” but I think it’s making progress.

    That said, I have a box.net account, and use it often. Even when the URL gets snickers and “box jokes” from my less mature friends.

  5. Derek says:

    I know that the Firefox S3 extension generates the URL to a hosted file on S3 from the right-click contextual menu. I tried it for a bit but I don’t want to have to rely on Firefox to find a URL to an item when I often use Jungle Disk or Transmit to manage files.

    I guess the same is true for Box as well. If you’re managing files via WebDav, you’ll still need to go online to find out what the URL for sharing is.