We first wrote about Australia/Silicon Valley based Omnidrive, an online storage company, in late 2005. Since that time we’ve extensively reviewed various online storage services, including rumored products from Google and Microsoft, as well as Amazon’s storage API solution (update here) for application developers. This space continues to heat up, to say the least.
Fast forward six months. Omnidrive is yet to launch, but they’ve continued to build out their service. Last week they invited in a new round of beta testers for their product, which includes an online and client interface (Windows only, Mac still in development). I’ve tried out the service and am posting a few screen shots.
The online interface (which is all I have tested so far) works very well although there are still a few bugs. One feature that I really like is the ability to set up a special kind of folder, called a “live folder” that is associated with a URL that contains a RSS feed. Any enclosures in that feed (images, sound files, whatever) are automatically uploaded to that omnidrive folder. To test this, I uploaded the URL to my flickr page, and the images contained in the feed (the last 20 pictures uploaded) were now copied automatically to my Omnidrive account. As I add more pictures to flickr these images will automatically sync with Omnidrive. This will work just as well with podcast and videocast sites, etc.
Omnidrive plans on sending hundreds of invites out per day until they open it up to the public, which they say will be sometime in September (expect delays).
They have also released a web services API along with toolkits and example projects for developers to build applications that access Omnidrive storage. With the API a developer can either build applications that existing Omnidrive users can use, or they can create their own users and use Omnidrive purely as a backend. The API extends to being more than just saving and retrieving a file with user management, payment management, media handling and the ability for the users of a partner application to use their desktop tools to store, retrieve and access files.
Pricing for the API has not yet been announced publicly but “will be competitive against S3 and other offerings” with a basic API account being free. Competitors Streamload and Mark Cuban-backed Box.net also have API offerings, and we plan a post in the near future comparing all four storage API solutions.
Sign up for the Omnidrive beta on their home page. The release notes for the latest version are on their blog.
Disclosure: Omnidrive CEO Nick Cubrilovic has written guest posts on TechCrunch and is a friend.
Omnidrive Interface Screenshots: