Last month, BoxWorks introduced a number of upgrades to its product suite, improving support for mobile access to the cloud content it hosts. Today, the company's clients are primarily outside the publishing industry, but two parts of their upgrade have implications for periodical and book publishers.
First, BoxWorks "announced a completely redesigned preview experience, which integrates Crocodoc’s HTML5 document conversion technology to deliver crisp and clear documents right to your browser, incredibly fast. In addition to the technology update, the new Box preview interface also includes a completely new user experience that brings your content front and center while placing powerful collaboration tools at your fingertips."
Second, the company is "adding metadata capabilities on Box, letting you bring additional context to your files stored on Box. From appending accident details like photos and locations for insurance claims to adding patient information on medical records, you’ll be able to store, access, view and edit details that aren’t constrained by standard file system parameters."
Both sets of enhancements are being rolled out this fall, with the metadata improvements officially described as "beta testing". I found the announcements useful on a couple of fronts:
- They underscore the growing importance of the browser and HTML5 – open platforms for content consumption
- We're opening up metadata creation and management to the people who use the data
It's not always popular to say, but content is content. People who read in an open, web-based platform that supports annotation will use their experiences to evaluate the closed, proprietary platforms evident in devices like the Kindle, Nook and iPad. It will be interesting to see how those experiences affect their willingness to buy digital objects that are accessible only in narrow ecosystems.