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Boxworks 2013: Box Notes Adds Real-Time Collaboration To Cloud Platform

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Box Notes will address a gap in the market, not compete with Microsoft Office, says CEO Aaron Levie

Cloud storage specialist Box has kicked off its Boxworks event in San Francisco by announcing Box Notes, a real time collaboration tool that works directly within its existing platform.

Box is now accepting sign-ups for a private beta having tested the service internally over the last six months, and believes it has a number of advantages over similar tools. Because it is built directly into the platform, content is easily and securely accessible, while customers have a pre-existing network of collaborators.

Users working on a document can edit text, make annotations and leave comments, while future updates will allow for the embedding of pictures and videos. Collaborators are depicted by a ‘Notehead’ allowing other users to see exactly what they are doing. Box Notes will eventually be built into the Box iOS and Android applications, along with offline editing.

Box Notes

Box NotesSpeaking at the Boxworks event, Aaron Levie, founder and CEO of Box, said Box Notes was not designed to compete with Microsoft Office, or even Google Drive, but to take advantage of a gap in the market for companies that simply wanted to share ideas easily.

Potential uses for Box Notes include the sharing of project plans, brainstorms, meeting notes and internal memos, but customers would eventually find other ways of using the tool. “This is a new technology for us,” he said, claiming the industry was keen to see just how its customers will use the service.

The goal, he explained, was to combine the technologies that allow people to communicate quickly with the canvas of a document. He said there would always be a place for powerful rich text editors like Microsoft Word and any attempt to compete with the Office-developer would be an “ill-fated exercise”, citing the failures of WordPerfect and Lotus 123 in the 1990s as examples.

However Levie suggested Microsoft Office could now be vulnerable. Its dominance could be attributed to the success of the Windows platform, which is now not as strong as it once was, he said, paving the way for other companies to lead the way in a new breed of services.

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