Home Box.net Adds Collaboration, Takes Aim at Google Docs

Box.net Adds Collaboration, Takes Aim at Google Docs

After being in development for months,


officially released the beta of their new collaboration functionality. With this
new feature, any Box.net user can invite collaborators to any folder in their
account. The collaboration feature is also fully compatible with all the OpenBox
services, which extends online collaboration beyond just word processor
documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, like Google Docs currently offers.

To use the Box.net collaboration feature, you just right-click on any folder
in your Box.net account. There, you will see an new menu option to “invite
collaborators.” You can then enter in the email addresses of the person or
persons you wish to collaborate with. As you type, the email addresses of anyone
who is already listed in your Box.net Contacts List will appear so you can
select them easily, if desired.

Collaborators can be given either “Viewer” or “Editor” rights the folder, a
setting you select before sending the invite. After the invitation is
sent, those users will then see the same folder appear in their accounts. Every
time a new file is added to the folder, all subscribed users are alerted either
via email or in the “Updates” section of their Box.net homepage.

Along with collaboration, Box.net is also releasing Version History for any
file on Box for users with a premium
. With Version History, any file that you or the collaborators edit
will now have a complete record of versions, which is great for un-doing
changes, recovering deleted content, and rolling back to previous versions.

The killer feature of the collaboration offering is that it’s fully
compatibility with Box.net’s OpenBox services. With this functionality,
collaborators can choose to edit documents online, like they can with Google
Docs, but users can choose to use either Zoho or thinkfree to do so. Where
Box.net trumps Google Docs is in the fact that Box.net collaborators can also
edit photos online with Picnik or Snipshot. Once the edits are finished, Box.net
makes it easy to then publish files online to any of the OpenBox services. The
full list of these partnered web services includes: Autodesk Freewheel, blog
posting (to WordPress, LiveJournal, or Blogger), Echosign, eFax, facebook,
Myxer, picnik, Scribd, Snipshot, thinkfree, twitter, Zazzle, and Zoho.

Although the collaboration feature makes Box.net a worthy adversary in the
realm of online document sharing and editing, the Google Docs solution is still
a more robust offering overall as it also includes business-oriented features
like email, calendaring, IM, web page creation, and administration features.

The Box.net collaboration beta is available now to all members and everyone
can participate in as many folders as they are invited to. However, free account
holders can only create up to three collaboration folders.

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