When it comes to consumer-level cloud storage, Box has been something of an also-ran for as long as it has been around. The company offered good amounts of disk space, but syncing was always a premium option – which is something that made the competition a lot more attractive.
Now Box has brought syncing to free accounts and added a few other features that one could say raise the ante.
• A new design, improved search, file liking and more for a powerful experience on Box
• Box Edit, a tool that lets you edit content directly from Box — images, PowerPoints and even CAD files – with the programs you already have installed on your computer
• Box Embed, a new HTML5-based framework that makes it simple to embed the entire Box experience anywhere you work
• 100 new Box OneCloud partner apps, including Mindjet (brainstorming) and Open House Manager (real estate)
Personally, I find DropBox’s syncing a little more intuitive. Box’s folders are not synced by default, you need to go through and select the folders that you wish to share between your devices – but that is not necessarily a bad thing. As someone who is struggling with an SSD that is, more often than not, full to the point of bursting – I prefer to sync a bare minimum of files.
The new Box OneCloud partner apps are a mixed bag, but there are a few gems hiding in the mix that most people will find useful: Box Files, which lets users share files via LinkedIn and Hello Fax, which gives Box users 50 free faxes a month are two that immediately caught my attention.
The final tweak worth mentioning is Box Edit. It allows users to save straight into Box and to create a range of files straight from the web interface and save them straight back to Box – a very useful feature for anyone who finds themselves working on a lot of multiple machines.
So is it a DropBox killer? The capabilities, especially when extended by apps, blow DropBox out of the water, but the integration is not quite as seamless. Once set up, it offers a good deal more and if you took advantage of the free 50GB deal earlier in the year then it is no contest.
If you didn’t jump on the Box bandwagon back when they were offering 50GB for free and you have an iOS device, now would be a good time to do so – as they are giving away 10GB accounts for free. Granted, it is not as good as 50GB, but it is still free and it is more than DropBox gives you.