The sharing of data has evolved considerably over the last few years. There was a time when those square, 1.44MB floppy disks were considered sufficient for complete operating systems (DOS anyone?!) and now, I can’t imagine anything less than a few GBs of useful data. But what happens when you are stuck with a 3GB file that needs to be shared with your colleagues or family? Well, I have found the perfect answer to that in file-sharing services available over the internet.
I can broadly classify the different file-sharing services into dedicated and personal, with the dedicated ones being apt for a corporate environment and the personal ones, well, for sharing pictures, videos etc. with family and friends. Since there are several file-sharing services available, I have selected the 7 most used, most efficient file-sharing services that can help you get the job done in a jiffy. So, let’s take a look!
MediaFire is a dedicated file-sharing service and is mostly useful when you have small files to share, not more than 200MB each. The option to share across various platforms and social media is sleek and the unlimited storage space available in free accounts is a definite plus.
The part I like the most about this service is the MediaFire Express desktop application. It is in beta phase currently and has been designed to make file uploading accessible on your desktop through drag-and-drop features and pop-up notifications.
Space Available: No limit
Quirks: File size limit of 200MB for free accounts
Price: $9/Month for 4GB File Size
RapidShare has probably been the most successful player in this market for years. Although it does employ limitations on download bandwidth and file retention (automatically deletes files after 30 days of inactivity), it has provided unlimited storage to all types of accounts.
I feel that if the download bandwidth limitations are removed, this is the perfect file-sharing service for those who want to quickly share large files at a short notice. Availability of nifty tools, like RapidSave, made using RapidShare a breeze for me.
Space Available: No Limit
Quirks: Caps on download bandwidth and removal of files after 30 days of inactivity for free accounts.
Price: Euro 9.99/month
ShareFile is aimed at the corporate environment and does not provide free access plans for consumers. There are different account tiers with different features and you have the option of a 30-day trial for any of these tiers. Desktop widgets and Outlook plug-ins are available for all accounts above the 10GB tier.
I found that the service has some cool features, like an option to assign expiry date for files, and proves to be a worthwhile investment for businesses that require a lot of file exchange that cannot work through conventional methods. It is now a part of Citrix Systems so I expect some good things and updates for this platform in the near future.
Space Available: None for free accounts
Quirks: No free account available, only a 30-day trial version
Price: $29.95/month for 5GB & 2 employee accounts.
Arguably the most popular personal file sharing service, Dropbox was one of the first services to employ client software for storage and integration. It follows a simple procedure where the user needs to place files in Dropbox’s folder for initiating the synchronization.
I find Dropbox easy to use, efficient and laden with features. The easy sharing procedure and admin control on files via a simple right click make it a slick application.
Space Available: 2GB for free accounts, extendable to 18GB by referring users
Quirks: Sharing with predefined lists of people is through Facebook only
Price: $9.99/month for 50GB
Google Drive is similar to Dropbox and functions in the same way. A folder is used for placing and syncing files across the Google Drive network. While files can be shared among Google contacts through the desktop client, setting up file sharing requires the Web interface.
One major advantage of using Google Drive is the seamless integration with Google Docs. I could easily use all my synced documents with Google Docs. I also noticed that the files that can be handled by Google Docs do not count towards the storage space of Google Drive, thereby lifting off the weight of the documents.
Space Available: 5GB for free accounts
Quirks: Seamless file sharing is limited to Google contacts only
Price: $2.49/month for 25GB
Minus is a relatively new service that is completely free to use. It works by signup through Facebook or Twitter and provides 10GB of free space. An interesting feature of the service is the ability to follow other users and see feeds of newly added content.
I am impressed by the Chrome and Firefox plug-ins available for Minus as they allow efficient uploading of data. While sharing is limited to making a link public and manually distributing it, the service compensates for lack of distribution options by allowing people follow feeds from other users. I think Minus is an impressive service and requires some minor upgrades for being truly awesome.
Space Available: 10GB for free accounts
Quirks: Some basic features are under development
SkyDrive is Microsoft’s file sharing service and forms a part of the Windows Live family. SkyDrive functions through client applications as well as web browsers, with client applications being lot more effective at the task.
I have come to identify SkyDrive as a stripped down version of Dropbox. The only method of sharing files is through the SkyDrive website and the PC client is not that effective. One thing that appealed to me while using SkyDrive was its ability to create and preview MS Office documents and files effortlessly.
Space Available: 7GB for free users
Quirks: A very limited, stripped down file sharing service
Price: $10/year for additional 20GB
That’s It, Folks!
I hope that you enjoyed reading about these 7 different file sharing services and found the right service for yourself. If you have been using any other file sharing service, do tell us what you like about it or what you hate, we are all ears! Thanks for reading!