Two days ago, I published Editorially.com: an Online Document Collaboration Tool, a new product I am using to collaborate with my editor and others when writing new articles for this newsletter. No sooner had I finished publishing that article when a well-known cloud storage service announced a new service that is a direct competitor to the one I have been using.
Box.com is already a well-known cloud service that stores and (optionally) shares your documents, photos, and other files in the cloud. Many people use Box to make safe and secure backup copies of important files. It also works well for sharing those files with others, should you wish to do so. Now Box has added a new, free service called BoxNotes that lets you create documents, share them with friends and work on them in real time. Unlike Editorially.com, the new service from Box allows collaborators to add or embed images, videos and rich media files, which can be played in the document.
Essentially, BoxNotes is a blank online text field for you to start writing. The rich text formatting tools aren’t shown by default, but highlighting any word will have those formatting tools appear for you to add a link or leave a comment.
The commenting system is part of the focus on collaboration, encouraging users to add profile pics so your co-workers can see you through the new “note heads,” which are little circles with your picture. When in collaboration mode, these note heads always show up outside the left margin at the point where your cursor is. This way, it’s easier to know what your colleagues are looking at and to draw their attention to a paragraph that you are reading (since they can see your note head).
Of course, this is all built on top of Box, so the notes are stored in your cloud drive and can be accessed from anywhere.
Box itself is available on Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Windows, and Mac OS X. You can sign up for BoxNotes at http://content.box.com/?elqPURLPage=211.
You can learn more about Box's new document collaboration service in a video at http://youtu.be/_DLOOO3WHEA or click on the viewer below: