Box's latest PC-based feature update allows users to create and edit documents within the cloud, avoiding the need for discrete downloads, juggling apps and version conflicts.
The Cloud In A Box
After last month's host of updates for Windows 8 devices, Box Edit is a new download for all PCs that lets users work in the cloud with common file formats including Word and Excel files, Photoshop images and more heavyweight apps like AutoCAD files, among others.
All of this without the need to download or create a file on your computer. Instead, you click on an existing file in Box, make your changes in the app, and then save them back to the cloud, where others can then collaborate with you. File locking helps to prevent conflicts and overwrites if there are multiple users on a project.
In the case of MS Office files, you can now create these in the cloud, skipping the need to initiate things within the app. Those on mobile devices or Chromebooks and other formats, can use the Box apps or website and OneCloud to access those files and carry on working, creating a more cohesive Box service.
Beyond this feature, the latest version of Box will now update automatically, allowing new features to be installed without hassling users to perform updates. With Box having come along way from mere cloud storage, and firing warning shots at Google recently, these new features are more likely to attract users than Google's rebrand, rejig, close-it-down, start again approach to its many services.
With Box broadening its enterprise reach, with recent announcements for the legal and construction verticals, it is paying attention to customer needs and not creating some widespread product and letting users get on with it.
With Yahoo trying to redefine email on the iPad, this new effort from Box and other competitors playing in their own niches, Google's own recent fluffs and struggles are making it look a little less the default option to users than it might have hoped. Perhaps its time for Google to stop focusing on distant niche fantasy like Glasses and focus on killer apps for the here and now.