Pearltrees, the Paris-based online curation service, today added the ability to upload and share any kind of file to its servers. The service started out as a tool for organizing bookmarks, but it’s long been clear that the company harbored ambitions that went beyond just being a better bookmarking services. Last year, Pearltrees added the ability to upload photos and save notes. With today’s release, the company’s co-founder and CEO Patrice Lamothe told me, it’s getting closer to its vision to “organize everything in a social way.”
Users with free accounts on the site now get 250MB of storage and those with paid premium accounts get 5GB (for $1.59/month), 25GB (for $3.19/month) or 100GB ($8.49/per month) of online storage space on Pearltrees. The service will offer previews for standard Microsoft Office files, videos and other common file formats, but like Dropbox, it will accept any kind of file a user wants to store online. Just like with bookmarks on Pearltrees, users will also be able to share their files, add comments and annotate them with notes. All of these files will be accessible from any web browser and the company’s iPhone, iPad and Android apps.
As Lamothe stressed, this doesn’t mean that the company is moving away from its core focus on curation, though this move will put it into direct competition with Dropbox, Skydrive and similar services. Unlike these companies, Pearltrees decided that it doesn’t want to bother with desktop tools, though. “In the middle-term and long-term, that’s not where things are happening,” Lamothe told me. “Integrating with the desktop is great, but that’s not a feature of the future.” Instead, the company is fully focused on its web-based and mobile tools, so don’t expect a Dropbox-like Pearltrees integration into Windows Explorer or the OS X Finder.
The Pearltrees team believes that, in the long run, the value of storage services won’t be in just storing files. “Most of the services we see in the storage field are linked to technical differences that will become obsolete,” Lamothe argued. Instead, he believes, these services will have to compete based on the value the create around these documents and Pearltrees clearly hopes that its quirky but interesting mind map-like visual organization tool will set it apart from some of these companies.