Izimi: Internet Publishing for the Masses, Not Workers


izimiThere are all sorts of tools for sharing files without having to choke your email server or upload them to your own web host account. Pando supports emailing huge attachments by using a special version of BitTorrent to serve up the file in p2p fashion. Box.net, Xdrive, and eSnips provide easy upload and sharing with large amounts of cheap or free space. senduit offers a two-step process for uploading files and giving them a private URL. Titanize backs up your files to a secure online site and then allows you to share links to the backed up versions of the files.

Now there’s izimi, a download for Windows aimed at making it really easy to share anything directly from your computer to someone’s browser via the izimi website. izimi is similar to Avvenu, another Windows-only desktop install that turns your machine into a file server. These services remind me of Parakey, a web publishing tool for the masses under development by Blake Ross, one of the co-founders of the Mozilla Firefox project. They all aim at the mass market of nongeeks who want to share photos, videos, and other files on the web but aren’t necessarily interested in or aware of the latest online file storage service.

izimi suffers from a few serious drawbacks, especially if you’re contemplating using it for business purposes (which, granted, is not its target use case). Like any approach that works by turning your local machine into a server, you need to have your machine up and running any time you want people to be able to get at the files–that’s not so dependable. Also, you’re giving away precious bandwidth by letting people use it for downloads when you could save that cost by uploading shared files once to another host.

Izimi has no access control, though private URLs will be supported in the future, which means that whatever you share is available to anyone who finds it. This makes it too limited to use in many work-related situations, where you will often want to restrict access to just your colleagues or just the people working on a particular project.

The izimi website aggregates the content that users are publishing into a social network with tags, ratings, and user profiles. This could make it into a potential YouTube rival, except the fact that it’s a Windows-only download and cannibalizes your bandwidth–limiting its potential spread and usefulness.

What’s the bottom line for web workers? izimi probably doesn’t offer you a better solution than the other tools we’ve covered that make it easy to share files over the Internet. Uploading once to a service like DivShare, sharing via online backups as with Titanize, or creating a private URL with senduit all seem like better approaches for most work-related sharing tasks.

Liz Gannes contributed to this post.


John Wood

Thanks for blogging about izimi. New version out very soon. One other benefit of serving from your PC is where the file in question is one that you edit or update regularly, with the upload model, you have to re-upload it each time you make a change that you want others to see. With izimi, it’s already being served so there’s nothing to do! John Wood (Johan Holtz!), http://www.izimi.com

Jay Pullur

There are many products like izimi, which give you a way to publish content or allow file transfer out of the desktop, direct. However, Dekoh let you do much more:
– publish applications off the desktop; for example, you can run a game, share it with a few friends and let them play off your desktop
– develop new RIA applications to the dekoh, using web and open source standards
– build web2.0 like applications on the desktop; with platform provided sharing, tagging, rating, commenting, etc
– build rich interface to your application, using either Ajax, DHTML/CSS or Flash

SF 91

ORB and Avvenu offer similar solutions. Both ORB and Avvenu provide lot better privacy than what Izimi is offering. Sharpcast to some extent offer similar value proposition. It is very easy to get over the “always on” requirement on the home pc. Avvenu started from there and now offers a Web Cache solution which will continue to serve the data even if the Home pc is off. I also think that there is a significant part of the population, especially younger, that dont shut off the pc when they leave home or when they go to bed.

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