Technology

Summary. Box.net is an online service that makes it possible to store and share files online. The user interface is elegant, simple, and intuitive. Signing up is free and very easy to do. All you need is to provide your e-mail address and create your personalized username and password. Box.net is more than just a file storage service, it offers a suite of applications that allow online file editing of documents, spreadsheets, images, and more. Files can be uploaded individually, or by using a drag and drop feature.

Cost. At the time of this review, the monthly rates are as follows:

  • Lite – 1GB Storage for Free. Share and store documents and smaller files. Uploading files larger than 10MB is $3 per file one-time fee, with no charge when others download these larger files.
  • Individual – 5GB Storage for $7.95 per month. Share and store documents and larger files.
  • Business – 15 GB Storage for$19.95 per month. Optimized for business collaboration. Includes 10 sub-users making it similar to a group shared account.

Features. The Box.net service offers a variety of features such as:

  • All File Types. Upload large documents, photos, spreadsheets, videos, or zip files to your online space. The system is smart when sharing, so shared audio files can be downloaded or played right online with a multi-format compatible media player.
  • Access Anywhere. Access files from anywhere Box.net is accessible from any web browser, so you can get to your files from home and work.
  • Collaborate. Create shared folders on Box to collaborate with clients, colleagues, and friends.
  • Edit Online. Edit documents and photos online With OpenBox Services, you can edit your documents, spreadsheets, and photos directly from the web! Box.net has integrated Zoho, a leading provider of online document editing. Now, instead of having to re-upload a new version of a document with changes, simply edit documents online. Online Word document or Excel spreadsheet editing is now possible. All you have to do is right-click on the document and select ‘Edit Document.’ It’s that simple. Envision having your office online.
  • iPhone Support. Files stored on Box.net can be accessed from an iPhone by going to i.box.net and logging in. The top folder structure will be viewable. Media files can be played directly on the iPhone.

OpenBox. OpenBox lets you do more with the files on Box. Upload your file and have options like document editing with Zoho, e-signing with EchoSign, photo printing with Zazzle, and much more. The three free tools that are already enabled with each account are:

  • iPaper by Scribe. Preview PDF files, Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets, and Powerpoint Presentations directly in your bowser without any downloads! Powered by Scribd.com.
  • Picnik. An online photo editor with easy to use but powerful editing tools. Crop, color-adjust and resize your photos, all from a user-friendly interface in your web browser. Editing for Images in the following formats: BMP, GIF, JPG, JPEG, PCX, PNG, TIF, and TIFF.
  • Zoho. An online productivity suite that allows you to edit documents and spreadsheets in your web browser. Edit documents, including Microsoft Word documents, in multiple formats including doc, rtf, odt, sxw, and html. Edit spreadsheets, including Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, in xls and sxc formats. View Microsoft PowerPoint presentations in ppt or pps formats.

China Censorship of Box.net Service. At the time of this review, when someone in China attempted to access files stored on the Box.net service, they were unable to do so, apparently because of the internal censorship imposed by the Chinese government.

Alternative Services. A few alternative services exist, yet they don’t seem to be as user friendly as the Box.net service. They request a lot of personal information upon signing up and many are focused on file backup services. Click here for a Google Search of online file storage providers.

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