As a seasoned Box.net user you might be feeling a little gypped. After all, viewing stored image files, rich text docs and MP3s is already offered by the company. But wait! The new system tacks on compatibility for things like Photoshop PSD files, FLV videos and--wait for it--MS Office files.
Documents are accessed using a nifty (and embeddable) viewer that stays the same from file to file. Behold, sixty seconds of previewing goodness:
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This enhancement is the fruit Box.net's acquisition of a small company called Increo (made last year). Increo still offers their original embedding tool here. Box's new offering also has a lot in common with conversion solutions offered by companies like Scribd: it's a viewer, it's Flash-based, it doesn't require downloading of any kind. Obviously, this is good for accessing and sharing files across different computers.
Though it doesn't currently support all file types (e.g. CAD), Jen Grant, Box's VP of marketing, says Box will continue to expand on this enhancement. The goal, she claims, is to get it to the point where it works with "everything."
For now, that it includes Micorsoft Office files is pretty significant. Whether it's strictly about previewing a document or being able to edit it directly, MS Office compatibility is a crowded train: Google is constantly upping the ante with Google Docs, Apple offers Quick Look, Zoho has a plugin or twenty, etc.
Third-parties, hold tight. The word is that Box will soon be releasing APIs that will allow developers to create apps that can take advantage of the viewer.