Box Releases Advanced Search API

Patricio Robles
Jun. 09 2014, 01:22AM EDT

Companies are producing data at astonishing rates of speed, and all that data has to go somewhere. For many businesses, it's easiest and most cost-effective to send their ever-growing collections of digital documents to cloud storage and sharing services like Box.

To ensure that businesses can efficiently find the documents they need when they need them, Box recently unveiled a new advanced search API which gives customers and partners the ability to build applications with robust search capabilities.

The Box advanced search API is designed to help support a variety of search use cases for a variety of different users and use cases. A number of Box customers, such as law firms performing e-discovery, need the ability to perform searches against not just file and folder names, but file contents and metadata. Other Box customers are building federated search applications so that they can search across documents stored in internal and external storage providers. The Box advanced search API makes it easy for Box to be integrated into those applications. For Box partners with their own customer-facing applications, many of them vertically-focused, advanced search will make it easier for them to create quality, relevant user experiences.

Using the advanced search API, applications can search within specific Box folders, limit results to certain file types and date ranges, and perform both user-specific and enterprise-wide searches.

Platform positioning drives API evolution

According to Box's Ted Blosser, the advanced search API demonstrates how the company is responding to demand from enterprise customers. "When building enterprise software, we realize that every customer has unique requirements. From global Fortune 500 companies like GE to media pioneers like Netflix, users expect software to integrate into their business processes, not for business processes to conform to their software," he wrote.

Box isn't alone in seeking to give its customers more control over their content using an API. One of the company's biggest competitors, Dropbox, recently launched webhooks to enable its customers to more easily build applications that are aware of document changes.

While Box and Dropbox will almost certainly always offer a variety of customer-facing interfaces of their own, both companies are clearly trying to ensure that they're positioned as platforms that customers and third parties use to build their own interfaces. Realistically, that means that they'll need to continue to expand their APIs to offer access to lower level functions and events.

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