YouSendIt Does The Heavy Lifting For Outlook

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YouSendIt, an online file transfer service with a focus on businesses, is removing the beta label from an Outlook plugin that automatically reroutes large attachments through its so-called “FedEx for the internet” system.

Email accounts tend to place really low caps on attachments – don’t even think about sending 2GB of movies to your friends and expect them to land successfully in their inboxes. But with this plugin, all attachments over a designated size (2MB? 5MB? you pick) are automatically transfered by YouSendIt rather than standard email. Large files are uploaded to YouSendIt’s servers where they remain until the recipient downloads them via an emailed link, all without requiring the sender to change attachment his or her habits.

This is just the first plugin that YouSendIt has planned for integrating into apps with which users tend to exchange files. A plugin for Thunderbird is under development, as are browser plugins that will deliver the same attachment functionality for webmail services such as Yahoo Mail. Two Facebook apps are also in the works (for sending and receiving with friends there). And a popular Photoshop extension already enables creative types to directly export their images to colleagues using YouSendIt.

YouSendIt is a freemium service; a free version places a 100mb cap on individual files, while three paid versions – Pro, Business Plus, and Corporate – lift that cap and deliver extra goodies like branding, security, longer-term storage, bandwidth and tracking. I’m told that businesses embracing YouSendIt not only rely on it for handling large files; they also send smaller files through it so they can be tracked and managed more effectively.

The company claims about 7 million registered users and says it transfers about 10 million files per month. It runs two data centers in the US (one on each coast), and a fairly new center in London for supporting European users.

Competitors include Pando (which also has an Outlook plugin), Leapfile (ditto), Drop.io, Megaupload, SendThisFile and Rapidshare – not to mention online storage and syncing solutions like newly-(re)introduced MobileMe, Dropbox and SugarSync.

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