Box Partners with Google to Expand Digital Workplace Reach


Box executives talked up an “all new Box” in the lead up to BoxWorks 2016, being held this week in Moscone Center West in San Francisco.

And sure enough, the company followed through on its promise of more effective and agile content management at the customer conference which ends today.

Executives introduced a number of updates from the stage including a newly designed file system, better collaboration and tool functionality in Notes and automated workflows with Relay, a product created in partnership with IBM.

Deeper Integration with Google

But IBM wasn’t the only big partner Redwood City, Calif.-based Box shared the stage with.

In an unexpected move, Box CEO Aaron Levie brought Google Cloud Platform Senior Vice President Diane Greene on stage for a fireside chat, during which the two revealed a new partnership. 

Without offering specifics of when the integrations would be completed, the companies laid out a plan to integrate on multiple fronts, including Google Docs, Sheets and Slides as well as an integration which allows users to search content stored in Box with Google Springboard. 

Jamie Perlman, vice president of business development and international expansion at Box, explained in a blog post announcing the partnership the driving force behind it: to continue Box’s push to become the single place for all enterprise work.

“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,” he wrote.

“At Box, it’s been our aim to solve this since day one. And at BoxWorks this year we’ve introduced an all new Box, where all of your work can come together in one place, no matter what applications you’re using, who you’re sharing with, or what device you’re on.”

One Center of Work, to Rule Them All

The prospect of doing everything from the same place is an attractive one, but Box is not alone in pursuing this goal. Google also has been developing the capabilities of the Gmail Inbox since its introduction two years ago to make it a single, unique place to work from. 

Microsoft has been working on this too — witness the ongoing updates and integrations within Office 365 and its renewed focus on productivity.

However, Rand Wacker, vice president of enterprise products at Box, pointed out during an interview with CMSWire late last week that Google and Microsoft’s solutions are limited to the platforms they’re tied to.

A Closer Look at What Users Get

As a result of the partnership, Box will act as a third party content repository for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

It will be possible to create, open, edit and collaborate on Google Docs directly from Box, with all changes saved back to Box in real time. 

The Box with Google Springboard capability offers some interesting prospects. Released earlier this summer, Springboard ties together elements of Google Apps for Work through a unified search application.

At the time Prabhakar Raghavan, vice president of engineering with Google Apps explained that Springboard will uncover files located in just about any Google business app, including Google Drive, Gmail and contacts.

Once the Box capability becomes available, Box users will have access to this same search capability within Box content.

The partnership offers Google a much desired leg up into the enterprise world through the introduction of Box’s security capabilities. Any data shared from Box over Docs would remain protected and HIPAA compliant as long as the data remains stored in Box.

A Win-Win for Google and Box

Nan Boden, head of global technology partners at Google offered another perspective of why the partnership made sense for both parties,

“We want our customers to have flexibility in their choice of tools and to have the most productive and collaborative suite possible for their needs. In fact, several of our own customers, like Avago, Intuit, Internet2 and Whirlpool already use Box and Google together, and these integrations will contribute to a more productive and collaborative enterprise,” she wrote in a blog post.

While the partnership offers clear advantages for Box in its ongoing competition with Dropbox, the move helps Google make its next step into the productivity space under the leadership of Diane Greene, who has worked hard to revamp Google’s cloud ambitions since taking the position last November.


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