Saturday, June 24, 2006
Files and pictures hosting
There is an interesting startup company Streamload that implements files, pictures and various media hosting in a way that could be potentially correct.
Namely, they allow you to both store files with a simple web-based file manager and selectively open access to these files for the public. The way it is done, essentially two completely different (Web) UIs are implemented; as of today, internal UI isn't bad (though does need a lot of polishing) while external UI is outright terrible.
Their pricing model is based on providing "unlimited" storage while restricting bandwidth which is also a sound business model. Storage space nowadays is so cheap that it practically does not count, while various other services guaranteeing "unlimited access" must compensate for it somehow (one popular "solution" is of course to limit your storage in a hope that it will indirectly limit bandwidth which is outright stupid). As for me personally, everything I might ever want publish online will be accessed very rarely so I am absolutely happy with bandwidth restriction.
That said, number of problems facing this service (and similar) is enormous; the most important question of course being whether it will survive in the more and more competitive marketplace. But, the good ideas outlined above make it worth checking periodically for the progress...
At the end, a few links of interest. I originally came across this site from Slashdot article referencing a PC World review of a few online file storage services. On the Internet, you can also enjoy older (February) review from PCMag, demo.com business overview of the company, both old and new blogs of company programmer(s), and perhaps most invaluably example of a user publishing many pictures and other media with this service.
Finally, one unrelated remark that could be more important than all of of the above: there are unconfirmed, but reliable reports that Google is preparing its own Web hosting platform.
UPD (10-Dec-06). Another interesting attempt at file hosting, www.bluetie.com .