SAN FRANCISCO: Cloud collaboration company Box has unveiled a selection of updates designed to appease both system administrators and end users, including the addition of metadata tags and better administrative tools.
For developers and administrators, Box showed off its new Metadata service, which it said could be used in projects ranging from adding medical notes to images such as X-rays, to making whole content management systems which power web pages and apps. Box's senior vice president of engineering Sam Schillace told V3 that Metadata had been added to allow his firm to "stay ahead of the curve". He added that Box is "moving generally in the direction of structured data, and this is a first step towards that."
In a presentation which also encompassed the company's newly developed Google Docs-rivalling document collaboration service called Notes, Box also unveiled a much-improved media viewing service for desktop users, utilising HTML5 technology from its recent purchase of digital document firm Crocodoc, which includes better support for PDF documents as well as images and video files.
"There's been a huge emphasis on quality of content in the new Box Preview," said Box's director of platform Ryan Damico. He added that the new preview interface will support more than 100 file types, and will be rolling out to users before the end of 2013.
Finally, Box also answered the calls of systems administrators and added a host of new administrative tools to its service. The new "rules engine" will allow admins to create security policies from within the Box interface. The new options will also allow admins to keep track of when users are added to groups as well as giving them the option to automate processes within Box.
Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom told V3 that while Box was right to add more features to its service and continues to stay ahead of its rivals, it would need to make sure it didn't stray into territories which required staff being retrained on how to use it. "The problem they've got if they move too fast is that they've got 180,000 business customers and 20 million individual customers, there may come a point where businesses say ‘we're going to have to retrain everybody'."
"The changes which are currently being forced upon users are small enough, but if they are to continue staying ahead of the pack, they've got to keep adding base functionality and adding stuff on top. That's where they have to be careful," he concluded.
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