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Crocodoc Launches HTML5 Document Service for Businesses
Crocodoc Launches HTML5 Document Service for Businesses

By Barry Levine
May 1, 2012 2:37PM

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The Crocodoc HTML5 service allows users to view Office documents in a Web browser. Crocodoc also allows the user to highlight or write comments, and share those annotations with others. The new service from Crocodoc can be embedded into Web apps and used without plugins or additional software, so that it is transparent to the user.
 


Downloading and uploading documents from cloud-based services to view and use them in local apps may have taken another step into oblivion. A new startup is offering an expanded version of its technology for businesses, so that Microsoft Office documents and PDFs can be viewed and used in a browser or directly on a mobile device.

The startup, called Crocodoc, launched Tuesday an enterprise version of its HTML5 document embedding service, which is currently used whenever someone views a Microsoft Office document or PDF in Dropbox, Yammer, LinkedIn, or SAP. The company said that its technology is enabling companies such as Dropbox, to compete with Google Drive, which currently allows users to work with documents online.

First Service Flash-Based

Crocodoc CEO and founder Ryan Damico has told news media that, while Google Docs offers a similar functionality, the results there are not as true to the original as what his company offers. This lower quality, he said, is fine with the consumers who are the primary market for Docs, but not for businesses.

Aside from the purported clarity, the Crocodoc service, which can be embedded into Web apps, also allows the user to highlight or write comments, and share those annotations with others. The new service from Crocodoc can be embedded into Web apps and used without plugins or additional software, so that it is transparent to the user.

The first service by Crocodoc, released in 2010, was Flash-based, consumer-oriented, and intended to provide a way for users to upload a PDF and then view it in a browser, along with such functions as highlighting and commenting.

In 2011, Crocodoc released an HTML5 version of the same technology, for use with mobile devices. The new service that it is releasing Tuesday is an update of the HTML5 approach, and can be embedded through JavaScript or iFrame.

With this release, the company is focusing on licensing to businesses and partner integrations. Damico said that it decided to license its technology more widely because of the many requests to do so.

'Radical Shift'

Pricing is by the document, a structure designed to appeal to businesses. Some use cases include the ability of recruiters on LinkedIn to view the resumes of potential hires without downloading, to write comments, and to share them with others -- all online.

The use of apps in clouds, especially by businesses, is a rapidly growing area, especially as cloud competition and the mobile workforce increases dramatically.

Box.com's OneCloud, for instance, provides a suite of over 30 productivity apps, enabling content to be accessed, edited, and shared securely from smartphones and tablets.

Recently, Box released version 2 of its platform API, and unveiled new application and technology partners. Box has said it has more than 10 million individual users worldwide, plus about 120 business customers.

In announcing the new apps and partners, Box CEO Aaron Levie noted in a statement that "the enterprise technology landscape is experiencing a radical shift toward universal, mobile information access and content sharing."
 

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