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When we looked at the landscape of file-sharing, one of our main concerns was that none of the available file-sharing services provided a compelling advantage over email. With creating email attachments being so simple, why would anyone go to a new service to move files around? Well, one of the entrants in this crowded field, YouSendIt, has been quietly pursuing a strategy that may yet bring them to email parity: increasingly, they’re integrated into your desktop, instead of being just another web service.
When you create a YouSendIt account (1GB of monthly download and 100MB file size comes for free; $10 per month will get you substantially higher limits), you get access to a variety of YouSendIt applications. These applications allow you to work directly from your desktop or from other software. For example, YouSendIt Express sits on your desktop (OS X or Windows, while the YouSendIt Outlook application is implemented as a Microsoft Outlook add-in.
The latest release in this group of applications is YouSendIt for Acrobat Pro. After installing this on my Mac, “Send by YouSendIt” appeared on the File menu, right next to “Attach to Email”. Using this is as simple as filling in the recipient’s email address, along with a message; the current file is already selected. Using YouSendIt this way is literally as simple as using email for the file transfer, with the added benefit of handling huge files (as well as access to YouSendIt’s other features, such as delivery tracking and return receipts). The recipient gets a link in their email that they can click to download the file, just as you would if you shared it directly via YouSendIt’s web site.
The more of these integrations YouSendIt presents, the easier it becomes to use – and the more likely web workers will choose it instead of email. Other available integration options include Aperture, iPhoto, Photoshop, CorelDRAW, and (in beta) Microsoft Office for Windows.