The file transfer service YouSendIt is entering the cloud collaboration business, expanding on its original mission of delivering files too large to be sent as email attachments.
The move brings YouSendIt into more direct competition with Dropbox and Box, two other tools that are popular in professions like design, advertising, and engineering where the need to transmit large files is a recurring challenge.
Until recently, YouSendIt was narrowly focused on letting users upload files for delivery to one or more email recipients, who would receive a notification with an optional note from the sender, along with a coded link allowing them to download the file. Once delivered, the file would be deleted from YouSendIt's servers. Now, however, YouSendIt is giving users the option of long-term file storage, the ability to share files and folders, and desktop synchronization. YouSendIt released a Windows synch client earlier this year and added a Mac version this week, as a beta. YouSendIt has also introduced mobile clients for iPhone, iPad, and Android, as well as the ability to digitally sign documents.
In comparison, Dropbox built its business around desktop and mobile device file synchronization, and Box offers synch to paying customers. Like Dropbox, YouSendIt is offering synch to all users, including users of the free version of its service. Box has other strengths, like the ability for users to preview the contents of a file on the Web before downloading it. YouSendIt is just starting trials of a document preview capability.
Many YouSendIt customers have been using or evaluating services like Box and Dropbox, "and they asked us if we could do something similar but keep it in the spirit of the YouSendIt product line," said Mihir Nanavati, senior director of product management at YouSendIt. "Our users told us keep things very simple and make it similar to email." Sending a file through YouSendIt is very much like using a Web-based email client, and now users can choose to save the file to a share or private folder at the same time they send it to a list of email recipients. Choosing to share a folder is also as easy as entering the email addresses of a list of people who should be granted access.
Established customers are loyal to the product and will be unlikely to switch if YouSendIt can meet a broader spectrum of their file sharing needs with a single product, Nanavati said.
In general, Internet email is only reliable for sending attachments of less than 10 MB or so. Even those like Gmail that have higher limits only solve that problem for sending between two Gmail accounts. Email from one company to another is typically limited by the lowest common denominator, and professions like design, advertising, and engineering have an ongoing need to send larger files than email will support.
With YouSendIt, the maximum file size is 2 GB for paying customers and up to 50 MB for free accounts. A $9.99 per month YouSendIt Pro account includes 5 GB of storage, and storage is unlimited for the $14.99 per month Pro Plus package.
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