Box aims to transform productivity with cloud-based word processor

16 Sep 2013

Cloud storage player Box has entered the productivity fray, taking on the might of Google, Microsoft and Evernote with Box Notes, a collaborative productivity environment.

Box is an online file-sharing service used by 180,000 businesses and 20m people.

The new platform is currently only available as a private by invite only, but users can apply here to sign up for the beta.

Box Notes product manager Jonathan Berger described the new service as a new way to create documents and work in real-time with others on Box.

Berger said that the web is a social environment with people at its heart and therefore team mates are aware when others are working on the same document when a profile picture surfaces.

The social workplace

Each user’s profile appears in the left-hand margin alongside their cursor. “When you’re working on a note with multiple people, it’s easy to see where everyone else is working. We’ve found that it facilities activities like conference calls because you can say ‘look here’ rather than “look at the third paragraph, line number four.”

The platform comes with an inline toolbar that only appears when text has been highlighted and users can annotate documents and leave messages for others.

“We’ll continue to improve the editor, making it possible to create a wider variety of documents,” Berger said. 

“Accessing notes from anywhere and any device is crucial, so expect to see a mobile version of Box Notes too. And we’ll continue to build features that are only possible in an online, collaborative editor,” he added.

Berger said Box believes existing word processors have overshot the market by being too complex and oriented towards printing documents.

“We believe innovation along the dimension of social collaboration is the future of content creation tools in the coming years,” he added.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years