Online storage and collaboration service Box unveiled on Wednesday a new pricing scheme and several new features for developers. The moves, announced at its Box Dev developer conference in San Francisco, come several days after the company filed papers for an IPO, as it attempts to boost revenue and differentiate itself from other storage services.
In addition to its seat-based pricing, the company is now offering pricing plans based on application programming interface (API) actions that do not refer to the number of users.
Up to 25,000 actions through its Content API for business will be free. For more than 25,000 API actions in a month, the charge is $500, and customized plans for higher levels or other conditions are also available. The company said it has more than 35,000 developers working on Box-related projects, and it has handled over a billion third-party API calls.
Roger Kay, an analyst with industry research firm Endpoint Technologies Associates, told us that he wasn't aware "if anyone has tried to meter API calls before." He noted that "the user has no idea when the call happens," unless Box will offer a monitor count of some kind. "The implementation will determine whether this works or not," he said.
The company is also introducing two new platform products, Box View and Metadata. Box View, based on technology that the company acquired when it bought Crocodoc last year, converts documents into HTML for display on any device, even ones without the application used to create the document. The capability, which Box said is already being used by over 100 businesses, is expected to be employed by developers as a rendering service for content.
As an example, Box pointed to a caller who might be logged into UberConference.com. The user can update documents, which are then immediately viewable through Box View by everyone in the conference. Box View is being made available as the company's first standalone service for developers.
Open Sourcing Viewer.js
Three levels of pricing will be available for Box View. The Standard level is free for 1,000 uploads per month, a Custom level is $250 monthly for 2,500 uploads, and Enterprise levels north of 10,000 uploads will require custom pricing.
Also unveiled in a public beta as part of the Box Content API is Metadata, which allows context to be added to content by the addition of key:value pairs to files stored in the online service.
In a post on its developers blog, the company said that "the ability to pass metadata between multiple features and services alongside your content creates a whole new level of interoperability." File types like "contract_detail" and "retentionpolicy" could be defined and then leveraged by applications or the Box search engine.