App of the Week – Box

boxonecloudWe are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

You may have noticed that a couple of the apps reviewed so far focus on organizing your life–particularly, your academic life. This week’s app, Box, continues in that theme.
Why Box?
USMA may soon be offering cloud-based storage to all cadets as part of a career-encompassing “digital rucksack,” with free storage in Box as part of the package. Those details are not finalized, but with that in mind, we thought it would be appropriate to take a closer look at this app.
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Box is an established, easy-to-use, cloud storage and file syncing service — and the iPad app is only the tip of the iceberg. Like many of the other apps we’ve reviewed, Box is a service that starts with the web, and syncs your files with its smartphone/tablet apps. You can use Box to store and organize important documents, photos, assignments, and collaborative projects.
Most helpful features:
●    Folder collaboration — you can invite others to access your files (there are different levels of permissions, from viewing to editing), so group work is shared immediately
●    Most file types accepted for uploading and editing, including Microsoft Word and Google Docs, video and audio files
●    In-app streaming — you can watch/listen to videos and songs or other audio directly through the app, without having to download them to your device (a feature Dropbox doesn’t offer)
●    Box OneCloud — access to 800+ companion apps within the Box app; approximately 30 are official Box apps; half are free, half are paid
●    A relatively new feature, Box Notes, which is similar to Evernote — so if you want to have *everything* in one (digital) place, this is ideal
●    Fast uploading and syncing
●    In addition to its encryption features for file transfers, you can password protect files and folders
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Downsides: No option for instant back-up/upload for photos on your device, such as Dropbox’s automatic photo syncing – but turning on Apple’s photo stream will fix that minor issue; you can edit your documents within Box on the web, but not in the app (however, this is true of most cloud storage apps at the moment)
Bottom line: Box is being heralded as one of the best cloud-storage apps for businesses, but the app’s intuitive interface, collaborative document sharing, and bonus features (OneCloud, Notes, etc) make it another helpful tool for managing your academic life.
Do you use Box, or another cloud storage app? If so, let us know what you think!

Further reading:
Box for iOS review: Secure cloud storage with an intuitive interface

Box Review: Powerful Cloud Storage for Your Business

PC Mag: Box for iOS Review

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian