Online File Collaboration software and services

Updated: June 29, 2019

2019. Slack integrates with Office 365



Slack announced new integrations with Microsoft OneDrive and Outlook. Specifically, Slack is integrating calendar, files and calls and bringing in integrations with other services, including Box, Dropbox and Zoom. For starters, the company is announcing deep integration with Outlook that enables users to get and respond to invitations in Slack. You can also join a meeting with a click directly from Slack, whether that’s Zoom, WebEx or Skype for Business. What’s more, when you’re in a meeting, your status will update automatically in Slack, saving users from manually doing this (or more likely forgetting and getting a flurry of Slack questions in the middle of a meeting). Another integration lets you share emails directly into Slack. Instead of copying and pasting or forwarding the email to a large group, you can click a Slack button in the Outlook interface and share it as a direct message with a group or to your personal Slack channel.


2018. Dropbox improved online file collaboration



Dropbox announced several enhancements designed to improve its mobile collabroration. In a typical team scenario, a Dropbox user shared a file with a team member for review or approval. If they wanted to check the progress of this process, the only way to do it up until now was to send an email or text message explicitly asking if the person looked at it yet — not a terribly efficient workflow. Dropbox recognized this and has built in a fix in the latest mobile release. Now users can can simply see who has looked at or taken action on a file directly from the mobile application without having to leave the application. In addition, those being asked to review files can see those notifications right at the top of the Home screen in the mobile app, making the whole feedback cycle much more organized.


2018. Google Drive added comments to Microsoft Office files



Google Drive makes it easier for teams and agencies to use a mix of G Suite and Microsoft Office while working with their colleagues and customers. From now Google Drive users can easily comment on Office files, PDFs and images in the Drive preview pane without having to use (and potentially pay for) tools like Microsoft Office or Acrobat Reader — or having to convert them to Google Docs, Sheets or Slides files. That’s not quite the real-time commenting feature you get from G Suite or Office 365, but it’s still better than having to constantly convert documents back and forth between Office and G Suite.


2016. Box Zones will let you choose storage from IBM and AWS



Enterprise file collaboration service Box announced Box Zones - a product that lets customers choose a storage component from another vendor, enabling customers to store files in-country when their privacy laws require it. Initially it will work on Amazon Web Services in Ireland, Germany, Japan and Singapore, but the plan is to expand that over time adding new zones using IBM data centers later this year. Eventually Box hopes to make it flexible enough to add any approved storage you like. The product will allow customers in Asia, the Middle East and Europe with legal and regulatory requirements to store their content in-country using third-party storage, and still use the Box service and everything else it brings to the table.


2010. Acrobat.com added kind of shared workspaces



Now it's time for another portion of criticism towards the Acrobat.com online office. The last time we reviewed the service, they introduced many useful features, but now they are doing strange things again. Although the press release looks nice: Acrobat.com added online collaboration work-spaces. In fact, they added only shared folders were you can invite your co-workers / clients for file collaboration. Previously, it was possible to share only separate files. So there is more PR than improvements made during several months. Besides Adobe decided that online shared folders - it is so demanded tool on the market that they can make money on it. Although the cost of service was not risen, but the free version allows to create only one workspace (shared folder), and the Premium Basic plan (which costs $15/month) - is limited to 20 shared folders. In addition (very odd) you can't access shared folders on your mobile device (Blackberry and iPhone).


2009. Rackspace enters the enterprise collaboration market



Rackspace is known first of all as the top Amazon competitor on the Cloud Computing platforms market (Amazon Web Services vs Rackspace Cloud). But while Amazon continues developing its IaaS niche (Infrastructure for third-party web services), Rackspace decided to create its own Web services for the enterprise market. In May they launched Rackspace Email - hosted email server, and today they released Rackspace Cloud Drive - the enterprise file collaboration solution. Interesting that Rackspace also provides hosted Exchange and Sharepoint (that compete with its own services), but positions the own apps between the cheap but possible less robust Google Apps and the top-shelf Microsoft options. Rackspace Email for 1$ per month provides 10Gb mailboxes. It provides the rich web-interface and can sync with the main mobile clients (BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile). On the desktop you can use MS Outlook or any other mail client. Rackspace Email ensures high security (SSL, backups, virus and spam protection) and reliability (after all, it's one of the most reliable hosting on the Web). In addition to email management, service includes a contact manager, group calendar, tasks and notes.But, compared to Exchange, it lacks task management features and shared folders. Everything is ok with folders sharing in Rackspace Cloud Drive. It provides version control and access control systems. Besides, it includes a desktop client and can sync files and folders between multiple computers and mobile devices. Rackspace Cloud Drive also can be used for online backup creation. And its payment scheme is very similar to Amazon S3 - you pay only for the resources (memory, traffic), which actually used. All this makes Rackspace Cloud Drive a very serious competitor to the leading file collaboration tools, such as Box.net. Cloud Drive is powered by Jungle Disk, which Rackspace acquired last year.


2009. SugarSync opens business accounts



Recently we wrote about to leading file collaboration services - DropBox and Box.net. Now it's time to add to this short list one more tool - SugarSync. During the last few months this service added some very important features: good version control system, free 2Gb subscription plan, iPhone and Android apps and the suitable file sending feature. And yesterday they unveiled business accounts that enable to administrate up to 100 user accounts - the feature that is much expected from DropBox. Besides the ability to create/delete user accounts, administrator can set storage limits for each user (and receive alerts when user is near limit) and easily scale the whole company storage volume. And of course, all payments are centralized. SugarSync can sync files between several computers and mobile devices. The desktop client works on Windows and Mac. All files and collaboration tools are also available through the web interface. When stored and transferred, all data is encrypted. SugarSync allows to schedule automated backup, send large files and collaborate on files with co-workers. But the service is quite expensive: the business account, including 3 users and 100Gb will cost $30 per month. Each additional user is $10 per month extra.


2009. Online file collaboration: DropBox Vs Box.Net



DropBox and Box.net - are, probably, the most popular and successful online file sharing and collaboration services. And though they use two different approaches to the SaaS file storage, they both have alike strategy, supposing constant upgrades and new features development. During the recent months both services did a good job and it's interesting to compare their results. Box.net, unlike DropBox, more persistently targets business customers. This service has more advanced security features, access control and version control tools. The basic file types in business - are office documents, that's why Box.net allows to view and edit them online (using Zoho editors). Box.net provides API for developers and that makes possible to integrate it with other business applications. Recently Box.net developers added mainstream social tools - wiki, microblogging and profiles. According to the company info, Box.net has 50000 business-customers worldwide. DropBox, like most Google services, is closer to consumer market. (BTW it's interesting that Google owns domain dropbox.com). That's why they pay more attention to interface usability, easy-of-use and personal features, especially to file sync between multiple computers. Its main advantage over Box.net is the desktop client that allows to work with files offline. But the service lacks sufficient user and version control. During September DropBox totally redesigned the web interface, improved the upload speed and unveiled the iPhone app (mobile access is also a strength of Box.net). Recently the company owners announced that they reached 2 millions users. One of the reasons of such a rapid growth is the free 2Gb subscription plan that DropBox provides to all.