Before there was DropBox or MEGA, there was Box.net, now known simply as Box. It is, much like its aforementioned competitors, an online cloud storage solution. It also has a few other features, like Google Docs integration, an auto-syncing tool that works with Microsoft Office, and BoxSync, which syncs a folder on your computer with your Box Drive.
Do the plethora of features make it worth switching if you are a DropBox lover? Personally, we’re far too noncommittal to use one or the other - each has its own strengths and weaknesses. But if you are the commitment type, here are the features and factors to consider:
Lots of Space
DropBox, the most popular cloud storage solution, starts with 2 GB for free accounts, which can be increased through referrals, spamming your own Twitter feed, etc. Box comes with 5 GB or more, depending on whether you qualify for a promotion.
We lucked out with a 50 GB account due to purchasing an HP Touchpad a couple of years ago. Currently, Box is running a 25 GB special for anyone. There’s no expiration date listed, but we wouldn’t expect it to last forever.
Google Docs integration? We love Google Docs. You can create a new document or spreadsheet, stored in your Box drive, from the Box homepage. There’s also Box’s own document editor, which we can only see being useful if you don’t want to connect your Box account with a Google account.
Better yet, there’s Box Edit, which integrates into Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and automatically saves edits made in Word to the copy of the file on your Box drive. It’s the familiarity of Microsoft Office with the accessibility and cloud storage of Google. Freaking brilliant.
BoxSync, on the other hand, isn’t as brilliant. Much like it’s competitor DropBox, it syncs a local folder to your online drive. Simple enough, right? Except it’s slower, less pretty, and not as easy. It was also not available to free users until recently. It still works fine - it just feels less polished.
The mobile apps, available for Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, WebOS (RIP), and others, all do exactly what you’d expect. We’ve tried all of them except the Blackberry app and they work just as well as the competition.
There’s more too. You see, Box made it easy for developers to integrate their products with Box, so there are a number of third party apps that will connect and store to your Box.
Security and Popularity
Over 70 percent of Fortune 500s use Box, according to their homepage. That probably has something to do with the large size of the free storage and the 256 bit AES encryption (we have no idea what that means, but it sure sounds nice.)
Should you make the switch? It’s a matter of personal preference. We’d recommend test-driving it, and the competition, before making your final choice. Or just use ‘em all. We do.
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