If nothing else the development team at Box.net is ambitious. Imagine taking the best parts of Google Docs, Adobe Reader, Dropbox, and your calendar and trying to merge them into a navigable, convenient interface. It’s a wonder the Swiss Army didn’t have a role in the project. Much like Google Docs, Box allows you to import, export, share, tag, and add tasks to documents among a number of other functions. Non-Google Docs files (Microsoft Office, text files) can be uploaded and then viewed in high resolution for better printing (à la Adobe Reader) which may be a response to the formatting issues that sometimes occur when copy pasting a Microsoft Office document into Google Docs.
Despite the appeal of Box’s all-in-one capability, however, the $15 per user per month cost (the highest among cloud content management / online storage services) seems a little pricey considering that you can achieve nearly the same functionality with other free or less expensive services. Online documents at Google Docs combined with file sharing at Dropbox can all be managed nearly as easily and for free for up to 10 people and $2GB per person.
Another important functionality missing from Box.net is real time collaboration — editors of the same document can not edit and comment on-the-go, and you can’t see the changes made in the document by peer editors — a function that works beautifully in Google Docs. Perhaps Box.net does have a place among large companies where a single interface is preferable to a number of smaller tools but for the small business Box seems overpriced and underpowered.
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