If you have ever tried to send files through email, you would understand it when we say "simplicity counts". File-sharing is all the hype now with a few big names (Dropbox and Google Drive) paving the way and smaller more adventurous web apps pushing the envelope, re-inventing the file-sharing saga as we know it. And as the world moves towards offices or projects that involve people that work in different timezones, driving over to your colleague’s place with a pen drive full of your work files is no longer an option.
Which is why we thought that you might appreciate this list of ridiculously simple and easy-to-use file-sharing tools you can find on the Web.
We’ve identified 20 tools worthy of checking out. Out of the list, we’re featuring 5 of our favourites. Take your pick of your favourite or if you have a new rising tool that we just have to know about, let us know in the comments.
Onward to the file-sharing future!
Our Favourite 5
A favourite with the crowds, Minus is no stranger to the file-sharing community because of its versatility and user-friendliness, plus the perks it has to offer. Let me count the ways: drag-and-drop to share images and documents, music and videos; 10 GB of free storage upon sign up; referrals are capped at 50GB per account; and you can manage, organize and share your uploaded files (up to 1GB per file) to social-media sharing websites like Youtube, Digg, Reddit and even your own blog.
You can also check out the other files that are shared publicly on Minus.com. There’s a whole community built within these walls where you can look through, like, comment and download another user’s images. For private use, just share the shortlink to restrict access to your precious files. If you like an image and want to download it, the download speeds will be slower for anonymous accounts; sign-up for free if that bothers you.
Minus is not only a web tool, it’s also available on mobile (Android, iPhone, iPad) and desktop (Windows, Mac, Ubuntu) so it has pretty much covered all major bases to ensure that you have constant access to all your files, inhibited only by your own Internet connection.
If you’re into sharing an ‘album’ amount of photos, you will love this tool. Again, it’s a drag-and-drop tool (we’ve established that it’s now a requirement for file-sharing simplicity) but you get to share whole photo albums with it. Share the url to the page via email or to your Facebook, Twitter or G+ account and your friends will have access to your photos and can download them as well.
Now, the files shared will only be available for 30 days, unless you get an account with them. If you have an anonymous account, you get 250MB to play around with. If you sign up, you get 2GB which can fill up rather quickly with high-res photographs. So if that’s not enough, you can sign up for 5GB, 40GB or 100GB (!) of file-sharing storage space – at an affordable price.
Size limitations aside, it’s a very easy-to-use tool to transfer large quantities of photos over the Internet.
Mac users, if you’re looking for a brief but effective tool to share files, Droplr might be what you are looking for. With a guest account, you already get 1GB; register and you can keep the files you store in there for longer than a week. If you’re not a fan of ads, they also have a pro version (recently released) that goes for only $3/mth with which you get up to 100GB storage, ad-free.
Apart from its seamless integration between Mac, Windows and the iPhone (v2.0), Droplr allows you to share files, and copy links with keystrokes. No more rummaging around or highlighting short links. Inside its CMS (not the Pro account), you can also manage and sort your files according to a file type filter on the left sidebar and by details of the files on the top sorting row. All files are also displayed on an image preview mode, plus the searchbar also makes it extra easy to locate your files.
There are other extra features worth mentioning, one of which is its code-sharing features, as the tool enables syntax highlighting; you also receive viewcounts for all your files. Its iPhone app has also been receiving glowing remarks, evidence of an always evolving, always improving file-sharing solution.
Despite limiting the types of files you can share on Ypix.me to just screenshots and images (max: 3MB/file), this ridiculously easy-to-use tool gives new meaning to real-time sharing, and we’re not referring to quick upload and download times. For starters, the Ypix.me main page is so stripped down that the landing page, the instructions and the tool itself are all on the main page, with good reason.
To use it, drag and drop an image file into the cloud in the middle of the page, then share the url address via the social buttons or a manual copy-paste to a fellow collaborator. As you continue dropping in images, you will see the page update itself. The best bit? Your collaborator can also drop his annotated or altered image files into the same stream. On the left side of the page you can scroll through the dropped in pictures, and click on any screenshot to bring it to view.
Since new additions to the page trigger a page refresh (akin to photo-streaming), everyone who has access to the url gets the same view, so everyone is literally on the same page. None of the images you drop into a ypix.me page can be deleted on your end, however, all pages will be cleared in 30 days so nothing gets stored, even if you want it to be. No registration or sign-ups required.
Easily the most recently developed tool on this list, DropCanvas is amazingly easy to use. Just drag and drop your files from your desktop into the empty space in the middle of the page and as expected, you get a link to share with your friends. On the other end, your friends with access to your files can download whatever you drop in. The tool automatically compresses the files selected for download to reduce the file load – a very considerate approach seeing as how file-sharing is now done by the album-load.
More good news, there is no limit to how much you can upload and store on DropCanvas although each canvas (I’ve figured out that it just means an album or a large folder) has a limit of 5GB. You can have several Canvases to your name and can easily keep track of each one by registering for a free account.
One thing we’d like to straighten out: there is an ‘editing’ option available but it’s mostly for adding and deleting files from the canvas and not for image editing. All in all, a very nice file-sharing option for larger files like music and videos.
Here are a few other tools that you might prefer if all you want to do is share a large file or files online. They all allow you to complete the file transfer, or file sharing, via the shortlink provided. There will be differences in upload and download times and some of these tools keep your file in their server longer than usual but it still beats having to share your files via the very restrictive, ‘email’ way. All you need is an Internet connection.
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