People who know me well know that I just LOVE lots of free online storage; I keep on signing for new email accounts all the time (if they offer me lots of storage) although I know I won’t be checking or using them much, only visiting them at the maximum permissible intervals just to keep them alive. Lately however I wanted some solution that would host my files online, lots of them, for long periods of time. And I wouldn’t mind if they could be streamed to others, which is lacking in most services, since they allow download, not streaming. I’m a big fan of streaming, as you must have gauged from my earlier article on online radio stations. It’s nice to have your important documents online, just in case your Windows crashes, like mine did a few months ago.
I was looking around for the perfect solution when I found it on CNET News. The service is called Streamload, and they have free as well as paid versions (who cares about paid anyway). The website is nicely designed and loads fast. And know what they’re offering? 25 GB of free space!!! Yippee!!! Store anything, host it , stream it whatever – videos, music, pictures, documents all can be dumped in, and you gotta give them credit for the fact that they recognize MANY formats. They allow searching by meta-data and you can even send large attachments without clogging up other people’s mailbox; they can download it from the public folders of your Streamload account, just like Yahoo! Briefcase but super-charged. With a storage space that huge, it makes Gmail look like a kid. Goodbye Gmail Drive Shell Extension (it isn’t supported anyway these days).
You have the option of downloading special software to synchronize the uploads and downloads, but you can use the web interface too. Keep in mind though that you have a download limit of 100 MB/month for free accounts, although the overall account limit is much higher at 25 GB. Sadly the interface didn’t excite me much, since I like lots of flashing flash objects, to hell with a quick loading time. But who wants to complain with that much.
Don’t be disappointed yet though. Streamload has started another service called Streamload Mediamax, which, quite frankly, surpasses the old guy. As the name suggests, it is more concerned with your media management – videos, music, movies, TV, pictures etc. You can’t use your Streamload ID to sign in, you have to get a new one, but then, you can’t choose the same ID as your Streamload one, so obviously they are linked. Also, your email is not verified a second time if it was verified by Streamload earlier. In a sense, it is better for the user, since he gets ANOTHER 25 GB of storage space (yes, that’s 25+25=50 GB!!!). This time, you have a max download limit of 500 MB/month and you get email too. The file manager is funkier, and Streamload Mediamax is altogether more youthful in its outlook and design (I mean to say more colorful objects). It is better organized as well; you know clearly where to go for something, compared to Streamload which can sometimes be confusing.
So which one should you choose? My advice – get both and brag about your 50 GB storage. On a more serious note, use Streamload Mediamax to store and share your media, it’s been designed for that purpose; you can also use it to make that funny video you shot last summer (but couldn’t send due to attachment size restrictions) available to your family/friends. Streamload (original) can be used to backup your data like documents, and to do some serious file hosting for your site (if you have one, that is).
I’m never going back to Yahoo! Briefcase, and I no longer need to mail copies of my documents to myself on Gmail. If you know about any other good file storage service like this, do post it as a comment here.