As a Google Apps expert, I was considering using Google Docs for storing and using my office network files on a daily basis. The one thing I didn’t like is that Google Docs just saves office files, i.e. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It also saves pictures with its Picasa file storage, but for other stuff like software downloads, website files, and other non-Office files, Google Docs is not that much help.
So, I went ahead to check out Box.net. After all, they tout themselves as being able to store any file you’d like. At first, Box.net looked like a dream. I was able to set up a free 5GB online storage account to test. I was even able to set up my own customized New York Computer Help website address that I can access as a website. So, I tested 30 files. The docs, spreadsheets, and powerpoint files uploaded very fast. But, it got stuck on an .exe program used for spyware removal. The program was only 7MB, but nevertheless stalled and after 7 minutes asked if I’d like to try again. Of course, our Internet speed is better than T1 speeds being in the computer service industry and all.
So, I skipped this file and then proceeded to test editing a Word file. I was able to view or edit the file. I clicked edit and it took about 3 minutes to open for editing since it uses Zoho as a free Word editor. I was a bit taken aback by this and maybe the whole cloud storage industry as a whole. If you’re not familiar, Zoho is a free Word Editor just like Google Docs uses its own editor for Word files. I was hoping the Word file would be opened in Word. After all, it is $10/month for 25GB and $15/month for 500GB that you would pay for. Why can’t Box.net have the decency to give you a regular Microsoft Word editor to use instead of a free, scaled down one. Yes, the Box.net cloud storage is able to take all types of files, but it comes with an evident slowness when uploading and editing.
For now, I think Box.net and Google Docs should leave the online cloud storage PC and Mac service industry alone if it cannot do it right. It is just the beginning of cloud storage products so I guess I shouldn’t be too harsh on them.