Web storage provider and collaboration tool Box.net has launched three new features aimed at giving its business users more customization, and simpler ways to set up collaborative workflow.
The first is tasks, which are action items you can assign to specific files. To start with, the service gives you three actions (approve, update, and review) that can be applied to yourself or someone else. Say, for example, I have an article I'm writing and saving in Box. When I'm done with it, I can assign my boss to either review or approve it. The same goes for updating something like a list of phone numbers or e-mails; I can send that out to multiple collaborators, telling them to add the information in the context of an action that can be kept track of.
When anyone finishes a task, the service gives them the option to add a customized response. That message gets sent to the person or group who assigned it, while crossing out the original task request that lets you track who did what during or after a project. What isn't saved, however, are any custom tasks you've created in case you want to reuse them on other projects at a later date.
Along with the addition of tasks, business users now have the option to brand Box's workspace with a company logo and color scheme. Any other users in your team will see this when they use the service, as will anyone you've given file-reading privileges to.
Secondary to this, Box is now letting business users create what it's calling "global" folders, which get their own URL that the creator can choose. Similar to what Dropio provides, this is a permanent place where anyone can get at whatever files are there, as long as they have the URL. They can also subscribe to the folder and get e-mail notifications as soon as new files are added. Unlike Dropio, however this cannot be done via RSS--you have to sign up for it using your Box.net credentials.
These new features continue to round out Box, which is smartly trying to break out of being perceived as a place for users to dump their files. With tasks, branding, and the recently released Web document editor, it's getting much closer to being a do-everything-in-the-cloud service.