Exciting times at box.net headquarters. Yesterday I had a briefing with Aaron Levie, Co-founder and CEO, Michael Smith, Product Manager, Mobile and Sean Lindo, Marketing Communications Manager. That’s a lot of heavyweights for a simple briefing and especially something so apparently subtle as a new mobile app.
Yes, box.net were demoing their new iPad application and it’s no overstatement to say that it’s an example of the long promised benefit of the combination of both the cloud and mobile computing finally being realized. The application itself does pretty much what one would expect of it – allowing users to access, share and interact with business content stored on Box.net. But at last it does so in a form factor that is really viable – one which realistically works with the use case that Smith gave me, that of an office worker commuting by train and working on collaborative files en route.
The Box.net crew were quick to acknowledge the visual cues they’d taken from Apple in the design of the iPad application UI, namely the left hand navigation – I’m not so sure about that – kind of reminds me of Windows Explorer to be honest – but either way you can see a nice flow between a view of all of your files and honing in on specific detail within a particular file.
The next version of that app (due soon) will even further expand on this cloud/local combination by including the ability to download files from box.net to the iPad and edit them within a third party application. The reverse will also be possible – allowing users to launch the box.net app from within a third party application and then have file uploaded back to the box.net account in the clouds.
As Aaron Levie said when I spoke to him:
This application drives home the power and the potential of the cloud and shows the utility of cross device integrations
It seems we’re reaching a world that, ironically enough, delivers Microsoft’s previous vision of software plus services. Semantics aside – it’s a great thing that’s happening.
On another note (what date was it again?), box.net has announced that it’ll be implementing a space computing program including:
- Interplanetary file redundancy – Geographic redundancy is great, but what happens when a meteor hits Earth and destroys it? Box has that solved with interplanetary redundancy. Your files will be stored on a minimum of 3 planets with at least one in another galaxy, reducing the risk of black holes, alien invasions and yet-undiscovered space things.
- WarpTravel CDN – To decrease file loading times with our new system, we have implemented a WarpTravel content distribution network using an Alcubierre drive, which serves files to the planet closest to you, at any time.
- Secure file deletion – Rest assured, when a file is removed from our service, its gone forever. Using our patented black hole algorithm, we ensure your file is sent through a black hole of at least 4 million solar masses.
As Levie says:
It became abundantly clear that cloud computing is on its way out when Steve Ballmer announced that Microsoft is ‘all in’, fortunately, Box.net is already light years ahead, pursuing the next great technology frontier with our space computing initiative.
Live long and prosper…