WinZip, a popular file compression and archiving utility, is now in its 17th version after two decades of development. WinZip 17, the latest incarnation of a program that was a huge part of many computer users’ lives during the late 1990′s and especially after the rise in popularity of the web, has an interesting feature: integrated cloud storage. Even though there are plenty of competing utilities that one can download and use for free, WinZip 17 is expected to do well thanks to its strategy of adding on new features to help the program stay relevant, which this time around includes not just cloud storage capability, but also social sharing features.
According to a recent article by Erez Zukerman of PC World, the Standard version of the software will be available for $30 while a Pro level version with extra features will cost $50 to purchase. Additionally, there is a free trial available for those who want try out WInZip 17 that lasts for 21 days.
Cloud Storage Connectivity a New Popular Feature?
The interesting thing about this version of the popular utility for most reviewers across the web has been its cloud storage interface and some say this signals a rise in software which will include this kind of easy interaction between popular cloud storage services. That’s good news for those who understand how useful these services can be. Right now, WinZip 17 (not to be confused with the Zip Cloud backup service which we reviewed earlier) can connect easily with Microsoft’s SkyBox, Google Drive, and even the ever popular Dropbox. This is excellent news because it means that WinZip 17 respects consumer choice and is not trying to push a proprietary service down the throats of consumers. That is not only smart, it sets the scene for future utilities that may include cloud storage options.
Using the Ribbon interface familiar to users of Microsoft Office 2007, WinZip 17 is said to be easy to navigate and also allows you to skip unzipping your files on your local machine and instead decompress them directly to the cloud. This is incredibly handy for those who lose track of where files unzip, a very common issue, and it also helps save local hard drive space – something important with more cloud exclusive machines like Google’s Chrome Netbook PC. Users will not even need to have their cloud storage service’s client installed in order to unzip files directly into those folders. WinZip 17 will keep users constantly updated on how much available space they have with each service they’re subscribed to, as well. In addition, users will be able to create zip files directly on any services they belong to, making for a speedy way to get work done.
Sharing Easier with Cloud Integration
While some reviewers did not like the fact that emailing a link to a zip file in the cloud requires a separate account with ZipSend, most found this to be a small complaint. The primary gripe was that it required extra steps, slowing the process of sending links to zip files in the cloud down slightly. Sharing is a big part of WinZip 17 and the program makes this a lot easier to do. As Zukerman pointed out:
WinZip can now seamlessly convert documents into PDFs so your recipients can’t change their contents as easily; it can also shrink image dimensions, so you can feed it with an entire folder of huge camera images and end up with a small Zip containing 800×600 images for quick sharing.
This ability will be appreciated by those who want to be able to work in teams and get more done or simply be able to share what they produce more easily. Those who want to go so far as to share files widely over social networks are also going to be able to do this without a lot of hassle in the process. While files can’t be larger than 25 MB and the links that WinZip makes will expire after one week, this is still a great feature that allows users to get more data out to their social streams. Zukerman explains:
And if you’d like to share some files broadly on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, the new ZipShare feature lets you send a status update right from within WinZip with a link to a Zip file hosted on the ZipShare server.
These services are how a majority of consumers are engaging their social circles and easily interfacing with them makes a great deal of sense for most users. We are definitely seeing a strong leveraging of both cloud storage and social networks with this new program and that is heartening news for those of us that are excited to see where the web will go next.
What Do You Think of Cloud Services Integrated with Programs?
If WinZip 17 has been around for 20 years and is still managing to pull in a substantial audience by integrating with the cloud, we think more software with similar inter-connectivity is likely on the way. This will change the way we share photos, videos and a lot of other data and, if things go well, should improve your level of control over what you share and who you share it with. Those in professions like photography, graphic design, videography, programming, writing, music recording and more should find that getting their work out there and noticed is easier to do. Of course, we are likely only scratching the surface of what’s truly possible, though.
How do you feel about this cloud storage integration? Do you approve of being able to integrate programs with services you’re already using or would you prefer that programs provided their own proprietary cloud services for you to use? We would love to hear what you have to say and also to hear if you’ve used any software of this kind, including WinZip 17 and what you think of it. Be sure to leave a comment below and let your thoughts be heard.