Towards the end of last year, Dropbox announced a partnership with Microsoft. Under the arrangement, Dropbox users would be able to edit all their stored documents using the power of Microsoft’s Office Online tools from any browser or using the Office applications on mobile. It started the roll out with iOS devices before moving on to Android and two months ago, made it possible to do the same on desktop computers using just a browser. Dropbox’s rival, Box, is doing the same now.
Through Box for Office Online, the file sharing service’s users will be able to create new documents and edit old ones from Microsoft’s Office Online service. Users will be able to edit documents using Office Online by choosing it from the “open with” menu on the document being viewed. Box for Office Online will be updated soon to enable users to share their documents and collaborate more.
While Dropbox stated last year it was hosting over 35 billion Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations, Box says its users have uploaded at least a billion such files with millions more being uploaded daily.
At the moment, the Office Online integration will be limited to the desktop browser (via box.com) as the two companies work on providing a similar experience on mobile (iOS and Android).
The integration of Microsoft Office Online with popular cloud storage services is a big convenience to uses since it eliminates the need to continuously download, edit and upload. Many a times such tasks will require access to a machine with Microsoft Office installation or some other office suite installed. With the integration to cloud services, all that a user needs is a browser and the not only are they able to edit their documents, they get to do so using the best and most powerful tools available. Data in spreadsheets can be manipulated and saved in real-time, presentation slides can be edited and shared with colleagues and new information can be added to documents on the go. It also makes it easy for those of us with multiple devices.