Monday, July 30, 2007

Thing 32: Online file storage

Last summer, I needed to send someone a really large PDF. Too large for email, actually. Too large for just about anything. I thought about sending it through the regular mail on a CD, but I needed it there sooner than international mail could deliver it.

After much searching, I found several virtual drive sites. Most of them were difficult to use, or required paying a fee, or both. I eventually used Box.net, which was one of the few free options, but I was never fully satisfied with that as a solution. It was difficult to upload the file, and even more difficult for my friend to download it.

I'm glad Julia decided to address virtual drives, because not even a full 12 months later, the situation is very different. Box.net is a lot easier to use than it once was, but there are several other virtual drive websites to consider as well.

Box.net and Omnidrive each offer you 1 gig of file storage; Omnidrive has partnered with Zoho (which seems to be debuting new stuff every day) and Snipshot to make it easy for you to edit your documents or photos online. Box.net has a really handy widget you can add to a blog or website (or anywhere else you can use widgets) to make it easy for someone else to grab a file. I really like that widget!



The third contender, for me anyway, is an underdog because it's too popular - in other words, it's from AOL and the Internet snob in me thought I'd hate it. Actually, I love it. Xdrive offers 5 gig of storage, and works with the AOL log-in I already have. (See, I'm not that much of an Internet snob - I already had an AOL account. It's a perfect learning environment, and they are trying hard to be relevant again.) As a nice bonus, Xdrive lets you arrange your photos into easily-shared slideshows, and you can listen to any uploaded music files using a built-in player. They claim to offer the ability to fax an uploaded document as well, but I was never able to successfully send a fax this way.

All of the virtual drive services I looked at offer a download component that installs on your computer and makes it even easier to save files at their site. I didn't install any of these, although thinking about I think I downloaded the files to install the Xdrive add-ons.

So, it came down to a choice between Box.net and their cool widget, Omnidrive and their ease of editing and Xdrive and their 5g of storage. Xdrive won, simply because I detest worrying about file space.

2 comments:

Jamie said...

Have just been playing with the Box.net widget, and I really do love it. Did I say that already? Just in case, I'll repeat it - I love it. Put in a picture, and anyone who sees the widget can view the pic. Put in a file and anyone who sees the widget can click and download or open the file. That little sucker rocks!

sheela said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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