Box.net Becomes Social Content Management Service
Box.net, which began life as a file management and file-sharing platform in a cloud computing environment, is becoming a more robust content management provider. The startup adds profiles, discussions, bookmarks and other messaging, collaboration, and social computing tools to better compete with Google, DropBox, EMC and other Web service storage providers.Box.net Feb. 4 has added profile pages, discussion groups, bookmarks and other social computing features to improve the team collaboration features of its Box online file management and storage service. Box won't be confused for robust applications such as IBM Lotus Connections, IBM Lotus Quickr or Microsoft SharePoint. But for small and midsize businesses for which $15 per user, per month, is a comfortable fee for sharing documents, Box is a much more affordable alternative to those collaboration services. Moreover, it's 100 percent in the cloud, not on-premises software or hybrid software-plus-services.
Box.net is positioning the new Box as a social content and project management service, according to Jen Grant, the vice president of marketing, who joined the company after handling product marketing for Google Apps.
We've enhanced the connection to people. If I'm working on a project with someone, and we have a couple Word documents we're all editing online, I can easily see their name on the side of the screen, click on it, view their profile and start to see what other projects they're working on.All in all, nothing novel in the way of Web 2.0 technologies, but Box.net is becoming a much more collaboration-friendly service from its original incarnation as a file management hub for consumers. Box.net has more than 2 million users and now integrates with other Web applications such as Zoho, eFax and Picnik through its OpenBox effort. LinkedIn's Intelligent Applications platform also hooks into Box.net. However, it also has no shortage of competition in the cloud, including Google Apps: The Sites wiki application, Google Docs and other collaboration services get high marks. Google is also reportedly working on a Google Web drive, or Gdrive, which seems to be an online file and storage service. Other rivals include storage services such as DropBox and EMC's Mozy.