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File Sharing Is The New EMail

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A few days ago Dave Winer talked about next steps for Bit Torrent. Good time to point him to my story on Business 2.0/CNN Money website, about three start-ups that are taking peer-to-peer networking to the next level, making it easy for rest of us.

This new wave of file-sharing startups isn’t aiming to share music or Hollywood movies, however. It’s just using the technology to speed and simplify the problem of moving a large file from computer A to computer B.

The three companies included in the story are Pando, Perenety and Wired Reach. Their P2P apps are called Pando, Shooter and Box Cloud respectively. Pando and Box Cloud are cross platform while Perenety’s Shooter is a windows only application.

While Pando has tried to keep its application close to the email-attachment model, Perenety has modeled its Shooter application after Skype, the voice-over-Internet-protocol outfit which was bought by eBay (Research), says co-founder Xavier Casanova. It may seem like an unlikely comparison, but Perenety, which is now conducting a limited test of Shooter, is emulating Skype’s one-to-one connectivity and buddy-list features. Just as Skype connects two PCs directly for a call and tells you which people are available to talk, Perenety connects PCs directly for speedier file transfers and lets you know when your contacts share new files.

You can read the full story at the CNN Money website Screenshots after the turn!

Programming Note: I am busy finishing up stories for the magazine so posting is going to be sporadic in the near foreseeable future.

12 Responses to “File Sharing Is The New EMail”

  1. andy chris

    I sometimes visit your blog and read articles.
    Recently I checked CNET and found ‘Window P2P Extension Pack’.
    This type of p2p program will apprear more and more and eventually RIAA will surrender sooner or later…
    NOW YOUR Windows Explorer is your file sharing application!,
    What else could you need more?
    This is the future of P2P application for Windows users!

  2. Sharing files is one of the most basic things anyone can do on the Internet and as such it has spawned a number of solutions over the years. Aside from the facilities provided by the many existing IM clients, there are over 50 websites and webservices that provide a solution to the large file sharing problem:

    The real challenge here goes beyond simple file sharing. In order to be truly “the new email”, file sharing has to work better than email. Privacy must be ensured, the possibility of being spammed shouldn’t exist and users must own and control how they share their data without worrying about being policied by their service provider. Furthermore, unintended uses need to be accomodated without sacrificing ease of use. It’s a tall and expensive order and solutions to this problem will continue to come and go until someone can cost effectively deliver the right experience to the user.

  3. Really love seeing more of these companies coming up with better solution to the outdated email system. I believe file sharing will become an integral part of future browsers in one way or another as well as IM and VoIP.

    Pando, Perenety and Wiredreach, feel free to creat plug-ins for Maxthon too. Contact me to discuss this further.

  4. Hi, I’m from Zingee, another one to add to the list. We’ve got some different views and ideas but agree that file sharing needs renovating. We’re also in stealth mode right now, but spraying a bit more info around after DEMO.

    It’s going to be an intersting six months. Of course first to market didn’t win online photo sharing.

  5. It’s really great to see all these companies actively thinking about how to help people share their large files. It’s about time us software guys empowered people to leverage their broadband pipes to unleash their personal digital media.

    I work at Pando ( Like most companies, we realized that a server-centric approach (email, web) wasn’t economically viable, but we also believe that a synchronous-only p2p model (IM style) wasn’t reliable or convenient enough for private, sender-initiated large file transfers. We’ve developed a hybrid model that harnesses both the radical distribution efficiencies of BitTorrent and the store-n-forward reliability of central servers to support both 1-to-1 and 1-to-many transfers. Depending on need, our system directs bit-flow to optimize performance and economies of scale. Some fun math here. We’ve extended BitTorrent to include 1-click publishing, intelligent networked storage, “package” metadata (e.g. Thumbnail, title, description, etc.), end-to-end encryption, advanced firewall traversal etc.

    For users, this means you can simply “send and forget”, via email, a 1GB home video to Mom, whether she’s online or not. When she’s ready to download, the file(s) are swarmed delivered from your machine (if you’re online), anyone else you’ve sent the file(s) to and our storage proxies.

  6. Hello from Perenety, we’re excited to be here! Just a small clarification: Skype is indeed a better comparison than BitTorrent but only as far as technology. shooter users don’t need to simultaneously be online to shoot files to each other.

    Back to technology, BitTorrent was designed for sharing large media files with a large number of people. It doesn’t work well for privately sending files one-to-one or one-to-some, unless the sending computer is always on or the file is uploaded to a central server. Not too ideal… that’s why we built a new file system from scratch for privately shooting files from user A to user B as quickly and effectively as possible.

    The PFS (Perenety File System) is unique in that it’s the only decentralized file system that can perform equally well under all scenarios: one-to-one, one-to-some, one-to-the world (all files 100% private and encrypted).

  7. The new Windows Live Messenger has this type of functionality baked right into the client. The “Sharing Folders” feature allows you to share an unlimited amount of files with your friends in a special folder that is automatically kept in sync, peer-to-peer. Just drag and drop files into the folder and POOF!, they are automatically replicated to your friend’s PC.

  8. PiXPO is also a sharing product. One of the coolest things about PiXPO is that only the publisher/broadcaster needs the client. The viewers can access the media through a standard web browser. Also, the content is streamed from the peer removing the requirement of upload. I was able to share 6,000 files in less than 5 minutes…cool…

  9. In the case of BoxCloud, at least, we are taking a very different approach from the im/p2p apps in that we are enabling a p2pweb (or user-centric web): You only need to download the software to share files but not to view them – any regular browser will do. Also, every file is given a persistent URL which can be used in emails, blogs, etc.

    Right now, the host machine does need to be online to serve up the files, but we will soon add swarming capabilities (like BitTorrent) which will serve to increase the availabilty of file sources – without having to rely on a central infrastructure…

  10. Now all the IM clients provide file transfer capability. I would imagine that they all use ICE to ensure the transfer is direct. Supposing one creats a file manager user interface and uses Skype API to transfer files. How are the new players different from them?

    IMs require both the parties to be online at the ime of transfer. Is it not needed for these new systems? In that case don’t we have to upload the files to a central server, invoking the size limitations?