This popularity also put the site in the crosshairs of the Hollywood studios, who branded it a “rogue cyberlocker” last year. Shocked by this characterization, MediaFire emphasized that it has always cooperated with rightsholders by taking down infringing content.
At the same time the company worked hard behind the scenes to expand its service into more than just a plain old file-sharing platform. Today MediaFire is ready to reveal the fruits of this effort to the world, with the release of its desktop syncing application and an overhaul of its website.
The sync software allows Mac and Windows users to back up the files stored in their MediaFire account directly to their computers. This means that with up to 50 gigabytes of free storage, MediaFire now is a direct competitor of other cloud hosting services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
MediaFire desktop sync (large)
One of the advantages of the sync application is that it allows users to share files directly from their hard drive. For example, people can put audio and video files in their MediaFire folder and get a link to share these with a friend, a group of friends, or the public at large.
To make sharing more convenient, MediaFire has also overhauled its web interface. The service now supports automatic media file transcoding and streaming support guarantees that over 200 file formats can be viewed directly from a web browser.
Besides streaming, users can download a copy of the files to their computers as well, as this example shows.
MediaFire streaming support (large)
While the above are already major changes, it is just the beginning for the ambitious file-sharing service. The ultimate goal of MediaFire is to make sharing and discovering content easy and convenient across a variety of platforms through the new API.
Brent Bucci, MediaFire’s Vice President of Brands and Developer Relations, informs TorrentFreak that MediaFire’s API will open doors to video playback on other platforms, including Xbox, Playstation and Smart TV.
After the launch of the desktop sync application MediaFire plans to add sync support for mobile devices early next year. A few months later the service will also add search capability, which will make it easier for the public to find files that others share, much like YouTube.
MediaFire’s new web interface (large)
The timing of MediaFire’s new sync tools announcement is interesting as it comes days before Kim Dotcom’s Mega is expected to release similar applications. However, according to MediaFire this is a mere coincidence.
“We haven’t seen ourselves a competitor to Mega,” Bucci says, explaining that MediaFire has chosen to focus on the social sharing aspect rather than encryption.
“Encryption is very hard to do, and at the end of the day really good security, transparent policies and not pissing off the powers that be, are all essential parts to running a cloud service that can be trusted,” Bucci says
Dropbox, one of the most used file-syncing tools, is not a competitor MediaFire worries about either, as storage is much more expensive there. “If people want two gigabytes of storage, perhaps Dropbox is right for them,” Bucci says.
MediaFire users can store a maximum of 50 gigabytes with a free account (starting with 10 GB), and paid subscriptions start at $4.99 a month for 100 gigabytes.
Finally, the topic of online piracy can’t be ignored. When MediaFire adds discovery tools it may also become easier to find infringing content being shared on the service, something which has the potential to raise eyebrows in the entertainment industry.
“Of course, dealing with piracy and fair-use is a balancing act. We’ve developed some pretty innovative tools in order to identify pirated content, while at the same time, we are committed to protecting our users’ data and media,” Bucci says.
However, instead of focusing on the negative MediaFire prefers to highlight the advantages of sharing. Many musicians and even major labels and movie studios are beginning to realize that sharing can also have benefits, and this is exactly what MediaFire wants to excel at.
“The industry is changing, and entertainment companies and artists are beginning to see clear advantages when it comes to providing free content to their fans. Remixes, mash-ups, and social promotions are creating a new generation of artists that understand their fans,” Bucci concludes.
Those interested in the new MediaFire and its fresh streaming support and sync tools can check it out here.