Cloud storage provider Box just announced a new wrinkle for its file-storage service: faster uploads.
Called Box Accelerator, the latest update to Box's service uses multiple local worldwide endpoints to allow faster uploads into the Box network. A user in New York, for instance, would be able to use the Box node most local to him for uploads, instead of the Box headquarters node on the West Coast.
The new feature is part of Box's basic platform of services; no extra charge is being assessed for it. It's already been beta-tested with a major chunk of the existing user base.
Box has used content delivery networks such as Akamai in the past to synchronize the availability of files for download, but Accelerator involved the construction of dedicated Box nodes in many locales: Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Sao Paolo, and Sydney. Box's long-term goal is to have "a pretty lightweight presence in every major metro area," said Box's VP of tech operations Jeff Queisser.
With these changes in place, Box is claiming increases of up to 10 times in upload speed over its competition. The company commissioned Neustar to perform its own analysis of upload performance on Box's network vs. competitors such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft SkyDrive. According to the report, the average upload speed for Box was 2.7 times that of the competition, or around three times faster than the average U.S. speed.
Aside from being a boon for Box, this seems like a future hint for how online storage providers will compete with each other. At first the competition revolved around storage space, download speed, clients for different platforms, and APIs for professional use. Now, upload speeds and varieties of local caching seem like they're becoming the next frontier. Obviously, the biggest limit for upload speed is always the client's upstream bandwidth--something no third-party offering can fix.
(Tip of the hat to The Verge.)