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Adobe Enhances SendNow File Transfers

With an eye on SMBs and "knowledge workers" such as creative pros, vendor adds video and audio file support to its cloud-based file transfer service.

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Adobe on Monday began supporting audio and video formats on its nascent SendNow online file transfer platform. The company also announced a custom branding feature and a desktop application coming later this year.

SendNow, which first launched in November, enables users to send, track, and receive files up to 2 GB apiece online. The service is primarily aimed at what Adobe calls "knowledge workers"--creative or other service professionals, usually inside small and midsize businesses (SMBs) with limited IT resources. Adobe senior product marketing manager William Lau said those workers are currently contending with larger and larger file sizes unsuitable for email or legacy technologies such as FTP.

"There's more and more data getting built and getting sent around," Lau said in an interview. "They need to send these files faster to more and more different types of partners, vendors, or clients and customers."

SendNow is part of a growing family of cloud-based Adobe products aimed at a similar market. In February, the company launched FormsCentral, a tool for creating and managing Web forms.

Based on the first six months or so of SendNow's product life, Lau said the 2 GB file limit is ideal for its target audience. "From our customers, we understand that 2 GB is actually quite efficient for their needs right now," Lau said, noting that unlimited file transfers allow for larger files to be broken up and sent separately.

In June, Adobe will launch a branding feature that allows users to add a corporate logo to key parts of SendNow. "This allows small and medium businesses to project a very personal and professional image," Lau said. The company is also developing a desktop application, which will run on Adobe AIR, to facilitate using the service outside of a Web browser. Lau said the app, slated for release some time in the third quarter, will enable drag-and-drop functionality to streamline sending and receiving files.

On the mobile front, the SendNow user interface is optimized for both Apple's iPhone and Android-based smartphones. "We looked at the universe of mobile devices and prioritized iPhone and Android, which we feel are the two top ones in our target market," Lau said. And tablets? "We did prioritize the two phones right now; [tablets are] something that's under consideration."

Adobe offers three SendNow subscription packages, all of which allow unlimited file transfers. Its Basic subscription runs $9.99 per user, per month and allows up to 200 recipients per transfer. It's also offered on an annual basis for $99. The Plus tier costs $19.99 per month and allows up to 500 recipients per transfer. Like the Basic subscription, Plus is offered for what roughly amounts to a two-month discount when purchased on an annual basis. The vendor also offers a Trial version--at no cost--that limits files to 100MB and 100 recipients apiece.

SendNow includes cloud-based storage--up to 20 GB with the Plus package or 5 GB with the Basic tier--that allows users to automatically save copies of transferred files on Adobe's servers. Lau said that's more of an extra for users rather than a core product feature.

"Our target customer is really using this for one-off transactions," Lau said, adding that the typical sender simply wants to receive the notification that their files have been downloaded and move on. "Most of our customers view that as the completion of the transaction; they would probably go and in delete that file."

Businesses have myriad technology options for pulling together people and ideas. But getting it right still isn't easy. Also in the new all-digital issue of InformationWeek SMB: A UC champion's survival guide. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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