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Box adds collaboration features, updates app UI

Box adds collaboration features, updates app UI

File preview annotations and enhanced Zoom integration have been added as the content storage provider burnishes its productivity and team collaboration credentials

Credit: Box

Box has added new collaboration features and interface updates to its cloud storage app to support better productivity for remote workers.

Among the changes in what the company calls the “All-New Box experience” is the introduction of Collections. Available in the left-hand navigation bar, Collections offers a way to group files, folders and bookmarked documents under a heading related to a specific project or process, such as a product launch or marketing strategy.

The feature can be customised and arranged by users to keep important information at hand, said Box. Other interface updates include a redesigned action bar, updated icons and advanced previews for Zip and RAW files. These changes and the new Collections feature are available now in public beta.

Changes designed to improve team collaboration have also been added. Annotations lets users comment directly on Box file previews - such as a Word, PowerPoint or PDF document - without the need to email for a request to edit.

This avoids the need to switch applications and should make it easier for team members to give feedback on ongoing projects, said Varun Parmar, Box vice president of product, in a blog post. “With this new enhancement, you'll be able to simplify the review process with the ability to leave free form mark-ups and text comments while you are providing feedback,” he said.

The Annotations feature will support more than 100 file types and is set to be available in July.

Zoom and Box are now better integratedCredit: Box
Zoom and Box are now better integrated

Box has also updated its integration with Zoom, the popular videoconferencing software maker. That integration, available since last year, enables users to share files from Box into a Zoom Meeting call.

The latest version - due later this month - lets Box users jump straight into a video call with coworkers from within a file, rather than having to switch to a calendar or Zoom app.

Finally, Box has introduced File Request which provides a more secure method to receive files from external sources. With it, Box users can send a link to someone outside their organisation, allowing the submitter to drag and drop a file – even if they don’t have a Box account.

“The all-new Box experience includes several features and capabilities that strengthen its position as a productivity and collaboration application for getting work done,” said Raul Castanon, senior analyst at 451 Research / S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Although Box started out as cloud-based content management software, it has moved to reposition itself as a content collaboration app in the past two years. “This transition aligns with market trends, given that many team collaboration use cases have shifted to the cloud and revolve around content,” said Castanon.

He added that the new Box interface reflects how team collaboration is evolving more generally, with a combination of both real-time and asynchronous participation, as well as face-to-face and remote interactive engagement. “This is where the enhanced integration of Zoom comes in,” Castanon said.

“It also aligns with the need to securely support a distributed work environment; this trend was already emerging in the past few years but is now accelerating as a result of the pandemic and the sudden need to support a large number of employees working from home,” said Castanon.


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