Teamed with Box, Google Dumps Docs Storage Lock-in Scheme
For a long time now, Google has been gaining traction with Google Docs, which remains one of the key ways that many people work in the cloud. However, Google--a company known for its dedication to open standards--has dragged its feet on preventing various kinds of lock-in for Docs users. In particular, to use Google Docs and keep documents stored in the cloud, you've traditionally been required to keep them under Google's umbrella, storing documents on Google's platform.
That has just changed--big time. Google has partnered with Box to allow users of the popular Box enterprise cloud storage and content services platform edit documents with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, while keeping them stored on Box. Many enterprise users will applaud this move.
Box heralded the anti-lock-in move on its blog:
"Today, workers around the world spend over 60% of their time searching for, exchanging, and collaborating on information. As the number of applications we use, and the amount of content we work with, continues to increase, the time spent trying to find the right version of a document, searching for the last update someone worked on or making sure everyone's on the same page, only seems to go up. Right when we have an explosion of modern technology that can help us get more work done, we're being held back by the lack of seamless experiences between our applications and a common place where we can manage all of our information. At Box, it's been our aim to solve this since day one...."
"... And we're excited to take this vision further, by partnering with Google to make it even easier to work in the cloud. We're collaborating with Google to collaborate on several initiatives to transform work in the cloud, starting with seamlessly integrating Box with Google Docs and Google Springboard, allowing you to bring together the best of Box's secure content management with Google's amazing productivity apps....With our new, deeper integration, Box will be able to serve as a content repository within Google Docs, including Sheets and Slides. People can create, open, edit, and collaborate on Google Docs directly from Box, and all changes will then be saved back to Box in real time. Whether collaborating on a contract or sales presentation, employees can leverage Google Docs’ robust editing and real-time collaboration capabilities to get their work done faster. Google Docs can also convert other file types like Microsoft Word documents or PDF files to a Google Doc for fast-paced content creation and collaboration."
Google Drive has long been the default storage platform for Docs, and it will remain the default, but users have a choice in the cloud now. One of the reasons this bodes well for Google is security. "With Box as the central content platform, admins can protect files wherever they go with robust security controls and reporting, customer-managed encryption, rights management, and mobile security," notes the Box post. Indeed, Box is a standardized cloud storage solution at many enterprises.
To use Google Docs with Box, enterprise users will need a paid Google Apps subscription. Consumers, however, will be able to use Box as the storage service for Google Docs at no cost.