Zumodrive Takes Cloud Storage And Syncing Up A Notch

Cloud storage and file synchronization is becoming increasingly important as users access the Internet and their data via a plethora of devices – desktop computers with large hard drives, laptops with smaller drives, and netbooks and mobile devices with relatively small internal storage. There are a lot of online storage/syncing startups and products out there to choose from, ranging from Microsoft Foldershare, dropbox and Sharpcast to pure online storage services like Wuala, box.net and drop.io.

Newcomer Zumodrive, from Y Combinator startup Zecter, enters this space with an interesting twist. Like other syncing services, Zumodrive creates a drive on your device that is synced to the cloud. But instead of syncing those files with all of your other devices, Zumodrive tricks the file system into thinking those cloud-stored files are local, and streams them from the cloud when you open or access them.

That’s not such a big deal when in comes to PC-to-PC syncing where hard drive storage isn’t an issue. But I have far more music files than will fit on even my laptop. Zumodrive lets me access them (even via iTunes) in a way that makes them appear local. And when it comes to netbooks and mobile devices with very limited hard drive space, Zumodrive is a Godsend. It just appears to make your hard drive limitless in size.

One other thing Zumodrive does that’s smart is it actually syncs files you use a lot across all your devices. That way you’ll have access to those important files when you’re offline. You can right click on any file to make it local on that machine. The service also makes guesses as to other files that should be synced locally.

The product is launching into private beta today. If you’d like to try it out, we have 1,000 invitations, just use the invite code ireadtc or click here.

And that’s not all. Zumodrive will soon have an iPhone application to allow users to access files from that device. If you are interested in testing out an early private version of the iPhone app, you can sign up here once you have registered for Zumodrive.

The Zecter guys previously launch a product called Versionate, an office-wiki product, that we first covered in July 2007. We wrote about them again a year ago. Work on the product is on hold for now as the founders focus on Zumodrive, but they say they may develop it further in the future.

Zecter has raised a total of about $1 million and is based in San Mateo, California.