Box.net launches new design, more collaboration features
We've covered Box.net before -- the file storage site with collaborative tools and a really great iPhone app -- today the company has launched a redesigned site and even more tools to make online collaboration easier and more effective.
Last year, Box.net added the ability to let users invite other collaborators to view or edit documents. Coupled with Box.net's OpenBox platform, you have a really slick light content management system that allows you to store, share, and group edit documents, spreadsheets, images and more. Today, even more features have been added to aid in project and team management.
Some of the highlights:
- Profile pages for each user that can be customized to show their role in the current project and their contact information and recent project activity
- Discussions that can take place across your shared workspace. You can also comment on individual files
- Bookmarks -- it sounds simple, but it's actually pretty cool because you can share a URL and the rest of the group can then comment on it and its findings.
- Updates - you can see updates across all your various projects to see what the newest discussions, edits and uploads are, all from one page.
These new features go along with a whole new look for Box.net. The old Box.net was not a bad looking site by any means, but the new site has a wider content area. The biggest change is that instead of just seeing your files and folders, you also see the people sharing those same files. This all goes along with Box.net's increased focus on working with small and medium sized businesses by crafting Box.net as a cloud computing management system.
I talked to Box.net today and it was clear that they are really focussed on giving their business and team customers a streamlined and efficient toolset. One thing that impresses me, as someone who struggles using Google Sites to collaborate with team members from across the country, is the granularity of permission control and the ability to edit documents without going to a separate document. Box.net lets you specify who can view what, who can edit what, and who can view or edit item A, but is closed off from Item B.
For companies looking at a collaborative tool that also lets them start using the cloud rather than traditional storage servers, Box.net is a really nice option. Even for individuals (freelancers) who need to be able to share files and maybe collaborate over Office documents, Box.net has a lot of features packed in that other services just don't.
Although a free, Lite version of Box.net is available to anyone (you are limited to 1 GB of storage space and a maximum file size of 25 MB), you can also subscribe to Box.net's Individual, Business or Enterprise plans.