This has to be some kind of record – a startup launching a public beta on the day it said it would. Wuala, the P2P ‘social grid storage’ startup from Switzerland, launches its public beta tomorrow at www.wua.la. Users will be able to simply click on a button on the site to start the service (it’s a Java app). That’s it. You can drag-and-drop stuff into it for file backup, photo and video sharing, or making files available publicly.
Here’s a more detailed description, from our post on the company last month:
The underlying core tech behind Wuala is based on research conducted at ETH Zurich (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). The files are held in tiny encrypted pieces distributed across the “Wuala Grid” of users, and mirrored on Wuala’s servers – so you don’t have to rely on other users being online to access your data. Users start with 1 GB of storage but can get as much as they want, either by trading idle disk space or by buying additional storage. You start off with 1GB of free storage, and then if you want more, you can make more space available on your own hard drive for other Wuala members. But users don’t have to trade storage – you can buy extra storage, like 100GB is 100 Euros. All files are encrypted on the user’s computer and the user chooses who gets access to which folder. No one else – including Wuala – gets to see the files. None of the fragments of files from other people stored on your computer are executable. Unlike Web storage, you can drag and drop files into Wuala on or offline.
Wuala competes in the storage space with Xdrive or Box.net, but it has a number of significant differences. The files are held in tiny encrypted pieces distributed across the “Wuala Grid” of users, and mirrored on Wuala’s servers. Unlike Web storage, you can drag and drop files into Wuala on or offline. TechCrunch UK broke the story about Wuala back in October last year. Last month, the site offered a sneak preview to the public.