Fabrik, a Web 2.0 savvy multimedia storage service, is opening up its web application to a limited number of beta users today. I got a look around inside this system awhile ago and was impressed.
Company CEO and co-founder Mike Cordano came from storage provider Maxtor, now a Seagate company. Chairman and co-founder Keyur Patel came from Maxtor as well, following time as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Inktomi Corporation (a Yahoo! acquisition).
There are quite a few online storage services available (most new and notable could be Amazon S3 and EarthLink’s WebLife). Online storage is good; giving your data to a company that specializes in keeping data secure and backed up makes sense when it comes to things like family or artistic photos and video. Storage and bandwidth are so cheap now that leveraging economies of scale enables these vendors to offer storage and delivery as a commodity. Fabrik media storage plans will start at $3 per month for 2 GB of data storage with unlimited transfers.
Two things make Fabrik stand out right now. First, they offer a very nice web application for organizing your photos and videos. It’s nothing flashy looking but the functionality is smart. Ajax, both tagging and folders are all nicely used to make organizing your files easy. There are quite a few nice little features like the ability to view items on a time line by either creation data or upload date. The service is intended primarily for long term storage of your personal media, but the included sharing features are good as well.
The second thing that makes Fabrik stand out is that its web application is also available for use with local storage. If you have your own network connected storage device you can subscribe to the Fabrik media organizing service at a reduced price. Owners of a Maxtor/Seagate storage device will get an extra discount, but any networked storage device can be used.
There are a couple of ways this could play out when the service really goes to market. There is a belief held by many people today that the new web is made up of 1% content creators, 10% content distributors and everyone else consumes the stuff. Of the 1% of content producers, a smaller percentage still will be producing large quantities of multimedia. Some people talk about pro-sumers instead of consumers. Serious content producers will want a professional service dedicated to long term storage of their media and the Fabrik UI is a good one.
As all of us switch to digital media to document our lives it only makes sense to store that media outside of our own homes. While systems that support both photos and video are becoming increasingly common, price and data limits are unlikely to become cheaper than they already are. Thus a system’s organizing tool is likely to be the key point of differentiation. Fabrik’s combonation of usable metadata and public sharing with an intuitive web based UI is a well executed example of a storage company moving ahead of the pack.