With its second Mac edition and its first Android and iOS apps already out the door, Corel's WinZip has also been working on two Windows 8-capable products for secure file and photo sharing: a "classic" Windows software program called WinZip 17, plus a "lighter" app meant for use only with Windows 8's tile-based UI. Endowed with new capabilities for sharing through social media, the cloud, and email, WinZip 17 shipped this week.
The lighter WinZip for Windows 8, on the other hand, will be released either on or after Microsoft's launch of Windows 8 on October 26, said Tom Vaughan, WinZip's VP of products, in a briefing for NotebookReview.
Comptabile with Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP, WinZip 17 offers features that include the abiity to send very large files through email as well as to share files via multiple social networking sites and cloud sharing services, all from the same place.
Not many software products ever reach version 17. Indeed, WinZip hit the market with its first software for file compression way back in 1991, many years before its 2006 buyout by Corel, according to Vaughan.
WinZip is now number four on Download.com's list of the Top Five Downloaded Programs of All Time, with more than 200 million downloads over the past 15 years on that site alone. In total, downloads of WinZip have amounted to more than one billion, he noted.
"[But] 2011 was WinZip's best year ever, and 2012 will be even better," Vaughan contended. This year's earlier software releases include WinZip for iPhone/iPad in February, WinZip Mac 2 in May, and WinZip for Android in June. The app for Apple's iOS has already garnered three million downloads, he said.
With WinZip 17, WinZip is essentially responding to changes in the computing landscape by trying to improve on existing file sharing approaches with improved security and convenience.
Dropbox, Google Drive & SkyDrive Integration
With the emergence of so many different cloud storage services over the past few years, people often end up using more than one service, thereby making file sharing difficult to manage, according to Vaughan. Moreover, some cloud services, such as Dropbox, have been struck by security breaches.
Consequently, WinZip 17 gives you a single space for viewing and organizing files saved in your Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive accounts. For better security, you can also zip and encrypt files with either 128- or 256-bit encryption.
When you decide to share files through these services, WinZip automatically creates links to the files so that you can send them from your own email. WinZip plans to add integration with more cloud services in subsequent releases, Vaughan told us.
Remedies for Email File Size Limits
Like WinZip 16, the new WinZip 17 also lets you blast through the file size limitations of many email services, according to Vaughan. You can send files of up to 50MB with a ZipSend Lite account or up to 2GB with a ZipSend Pro account.
New in WinZip 17 is a built-in ZipSend Add-in for Microsoft Outlook.
WinZip is preconfigured to work with Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Hotmail. However, you can also configure it to support other email services.
File Sharing Via Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook
Meanwhile, given that social networking sites are typically lacking in file sharing capabilities, WinZip 17 is also designed to let you share any type of file to Twitter followers, LinkedIn contacts, and Facebook subscribers.
"You can share one file or a whole folder," he elaborated. "You can share with everyone or only with selected Facebook or LinkedIn groups."
Also through WinZip's built-in ZipShare service, files and folders can be pushed out simultaneously through Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
While WinZip 16 supported file sharing through Facebook, the integration with Twitter and LinkedIn is brand new.
Security & Convenience
Also for the sake of convenience, you can automatically resize any photos you want to share from directly within WinZip.
Aside from AES encryption, other security features include the ability to convert files from Microsoft Office and formats such as JPEG and HTML into PDF, and to add watermarks for preventing unauthorized distribution of confidential docs.
WinZip's file conversion capabilities, though, are not based on technology in another Corel product known as PDF Fusion, Vaughan said.
Pricing is $29.95 for WinZip 17 Standard and $49.95 for WinZip 17 Pro, an edition which adds file backup capabilities along with features like additional options for photo editing and sharing. You can also download a free trial version.
Pricing hasn't been announced yet for the upcoming WinZip for Windows 8 "light" app.