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Next Generation File Sharing Comes Out of the Box

Online file sharing service Box.net made Webware’s list of the 100 best Web 2.0 applications for 2008 for three very good reasons.

The award's not for its file storage capability (there are other free or low-cost backup and file storage options to challenge the modest amount of space that Box.net offers). And not for the ability to access and share your stored files online  — although it’s worth noting that Box.net just added iPhone access to its existing standard mobile access. Not even for the user-friendly interface that feels comfortable from the moment you first sign in…

Box.net widget screenshotWhat makes Box.net a winner is a powerful Web 2.0 trio:

  • Its open API that lets outside developers write new applications to let you work in new ways with the files stored in your Box;
  • the OpenBox platform, which connects data from Box.net to other web-based applications and services, and
  • the Box widget.

Here’s how Box.net works:

Sign up for a Box.net account, login, and upload any documents, spreadsheets, images or other files from your computer to your Box. Organize your files in folders, just as you would on your computer, and tag them. Access your files from any location, at any time, with any web browser. Share a view-only link by email, IM or website, or invite your colleagues and friends to collaborate.

So far, nothing out of the ordinary? But that’s just the start.

A variety of plugins (free right now, while the Box-Enabled Applications directory is in beta) let you upload directly from popular software like Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, Adobe Photoshop, and more. There’s even a Firefox extension to let you synchronize your browser bookmarks.

Box.net works with trusted third-party services to do an incredible variety of tasks with the files that you store in your online Box. You can edit documents with Zoho, e-sign them with EchoSign and fax with eFax, preview PDF files and Powerpoint presentations in your browser window without having to download them, send files through Gmail and Outlook, edit photos with Picnik and print them with Zazzle… and the list of services goes on.  Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are included, and blogging platforms like Wordpress, LiveJournal and Blogger.

The beauty is, you don’t have to upload your files to different services and applications to make it happen: the files stay on Box.net and the services come to them. One consistent version of each is out there, shared, at any given time.

And when it comes to collaborating or web-publishing your files, you can choose the method that suits your needs best:

Box.net widget screenshotShare a link or folder with selected colleagues, share your files through Facebook, or let your viewers subscribe to your folders’ RSS file feeds in their choice of feedreader. (Each publicly shared folder and public Box in your account has its own RSS feed that can be recognized by any reader that supports RSS 2.0.)

Or, create a Box widget to embed on any website, blog, or social networking service that supports the common HTML embed code.

The Box widget lets you share files by publishing your photos, documents, audio, or video in a user-friendly form — displayed in list or icon view. Any number of widgets can be created (and customized) to serve up the contents of any folder.

As you add new files to the associated folder, they will appear in that widget automatically, on every web page where the widget is embedded. 

You can even upload new content directly from the widget, without having to visit the Box.net site!

Box.net’s Lite account (free) offers 1GB storage, with maximum file size, 10GB/month bandwidth, and a few limitations (no password protection on free accounts, for example). Full-featured upgrade accounts, with a 1GB file size limit and no bandwidth restrictions, will cost $7.95/month (5GB file storage space) or $19.95/month (15GB storage). A 14-day free trial is available.

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Comments

  • JennyJenny

    Jenny said:

    On the subject of file backup, sharing and storage ...

    Online backup is becoming common these days. It is estimated that 70-75% of all PC's will be connected to online backup services with in the next decade.

    Thousands of online backup companies exist, from one guy operating in his apartment to fortune 500 companies.

    Choosing the best online backup company will be very confusing and difficult. One website I find very helpful in making a decision to pick an online backup company is:

    http://www.BackupReview.info

    This site lists more than 400 online backup companies in its directory and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis.

    Thursday, 24 July 2008 at 8:27 PM
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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