Box.net Makes Document Sharing Easy, But Still Can’t Compete With Google Docs For Live Collaboration

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Box.net is often compared to online storage services like Dropbox, and we’re not sure why.

The real strength of Box.net is in its document collaboration tools; it essentially works like Google Docs, except with many more features and an excellent mobile app.

When you sign up for the free version of Box.net, you are allotted 5GB of space (like many other online services these days), but there’s a glaring problem here: none of your files are allowed to exceed 25 MB in size.

Even if you purchase the $15.00/month business package, your file size cap is 2GB (no storing high-def movies, lossless music, and videos for free here). 

Regardless, Box.net seems like it’s aiming to please small business owners with its extensive sharing, collaboration, and file version-tracking features. In this department, Box.net beats competitors handily. Google Docs will always have an edge, though, because it includes online document editing in just about any format. With Box.net, you have to download each document, edit it, then re-upload it.

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”navigate-to-boxnet-and-click-try-it-free-to-get-started-with-5gb-of-free-storage-one-big-drawback-to-using-boxnet-is-that-as-a-free-user-you-cant-upload-any-file-bigger-than-25mb-1″
title=”Navigate to box.net and click “Try It Free” to get started with 5GB of free storage. One big drawback to using box.net is that as a free user, you can’t upload any file bigger than 25MB.”
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permalink=”once-you-arrive-at-this-screen-click-sign-up-now-2″
title=”Once you arrive at this screen, click “Sign Up Now””
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[slide
permalink=”once-you-sign-up-youll-be-prompted-to-create-a-folder-that-you-can-share-with-others-or-that-you-can-keep-private-3″
title=”Once you sign up, you’ll be prompted to create a folder that you can share with others, or that you can keep private.”
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[slide
permalink=”when-you-create-a-new-document-invite-a-collaborator-to-make-changes-and-read-the-document-no-matter-who-makes-changes-boxnet-will-show-an-update-list-that-shows-times-when-someone-did-so-4″
title=”When you create a new document, invite a collaborator to make changes and read the document. No matter who makes changes, Box.net will show an update list that shows times when someone did so.”
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[slide
permalink=”after-you-create-a-folder-you-are-free-to-upload-files-into-it-and-share-the-folder-with-others-5″
title=”After you create a folder, you are free to upload files into it and share the folder with others.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4da33a3249e2ae8f4d080000″
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[slide
permalink=”click-new-to-create-a-new-web-document-or-upload-to-upload-a-file-of-your-own-6″
title=”Click “New…” to create a new web document or “Upload” to upload a file of your own.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4da33a9e49e2ae594f090000″
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[slide
permalink=”when-you-upload-a-file-to-boxnet-a-progress-bar-appears-at-the-bottom-of-the-screen-unfortunately-you-have-to-wait-until-the-upload-is-complete-before-you-can-do-anything-on-the-website-again-7″
title=”When you upload a file to Box.net, a progress bar appears at the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, you have to wait until the upload is complete before you can do anything on the website again.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4da338dacadcbb2d252a0000″
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[slide
permalink=”boxnet-includes-a-fully-featured-web-document-word-processor-similar-to-the-one-present-in-google-docs-theres-no-online-doc-editor-included-in-boxnet-but-theyve-employed-convenient-live-syncing-and-storage-for-google-docs-8″
title=”Box.net includes a fully featured “web document” word processor similar to the one present in Google Docs. There’s no online doc editor included in Box.net, but they’ve employed convenient live-syncing and storage for Google Docs.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4da32e9149e2ae5a2c1d0000″
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[slide
permalink=”if-you-click-the-arrow-next-to-any-file-youve-uploaded-you-can-share-the-file-sync-it-to-your-desktop-a-premium-feature-while-this-feature-is-free-with-dropbox-and-more-9″
title=”If you click the arrow next to any file you’ve uploaded, you can share the file, sync it to your desktop (a Premium feature, while this feature is free with DropBox), and more.”
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[slide
permalink=”add-tags-to-your-documents-and-files-to-help-keep-track-of-projects-10″
title=”Add tags to your documents and files to help keep track of projects”
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[slide
permalink=”another-feature-we-like-is-the-ability-to-invite-document-collaborators-using-a-link-if-youd-like-11″
title=”Another feature we like is the ability to invite document collaborators using a link if you’d like.”
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[slide
permalink=”the-updates-page-is-a-useful-way-to-visualize-any-changes-or-uploads-that-occur-this-feature-is-one-of-the-most-unique-features-of-boxnet-because-it-gives-project-managers-an-easy-way-to-see-how-projects-and-documents-are-coming-along-commenting-on-documents-is-supported-as-is-a-cool-discussions-feature-12″
title=”The updates page is a useful way to visualise any changes or uploads that occur. This feature is one of the most unique features of Box.net, because it gives project managers an easy way to see how projects and documents are coming along. Commenting on documents is supported, as is a cool “Discussions” feature.”
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[slide
permalink=”the-ios-app-works-well-enough-for-viewing-pictures-stored-online-but-the-experience-isnt-very-immersive-playing-music-was-painful-because-you-cant-exit-the-app-while-listening-vs-competitors-like-sugarsync-13″
title=”The iOS app works well enough for viewing pictures stored online, but the experience isn’t very immersive. Playing music was painful, because you can’t exit the app while listening (vs. competitors like SugarSync).”
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[slide
permalink=”the-app-does-a-great-job-however-managing-files-and-illustrating-changes-that-have-been-made-by-you-or-others-to-shared-files-we-like-the-commenting-feature-which-can-be-convenient-if-you-need-to-jot-down-some-quick-notes-about-a-file-also-the-save-for-offline-feature-is-not-unique-but-its-still-important-14″
title=”The app does a GREAT job, however, managing files and illustrating changes that have been made by you or others to shared files. We like the commenting feature, which can be convenient if you need to jot down some quick notes about a file. Also, the “Save for Offline” feature is not unique, but it’s still important.”
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[slide
permalink=”lastly-heres-the-app-marketplace-you-can-find-a-variety-of-apps-and-plugins-to-enhance-the-boxnet-experience-the-google-apps-plugin-integrates-boxnet-with-google-docs-and-the-salesforce-plugin-lets-you-access-your-boxnet-files-from-within-salesforce-15″
title=”Lastly, here’s the App Marketplace. You can find a variety of apps and plugins to enhance the Box.net experience. The Google Apps plugin integrates Box.net with Google Docs, and the Salesforce plugin lets you access your Box.net files from within Salesforce.”
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[slide
permalink=”now-that-youve-learned-how-to-use-boxnet-16″
title=”Now that you’ve learned how to use Box.net”
content=”Click here to learn about our favourite ways to backup your entire computer online →
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