In the past few years, however, things have begun to change. Increases in Internet speeds, cost reductions for online storage and a need to sync or share files between multiple devices has pushed us further towards the cloud.
These days it’s likely that the savvy Internet user will be using Dropbox, Mega or any one of the hundreds of other cloud storage companies around today, storing content remotely and enjoying the freedom to move from device to device without the burden of constantly transferring files.
While there is plenty of choice in the cloud, most services have a key selling point while holding back on certain features. Dropbox is the current king when it comes to syncing content between multiple devices but unless you want to pay, storage is limited to 2GB. Mega, on the other hand, currently lacks some of Dropbox’s features but offers a massive 50GB of storage without asking for a penny, all supported by industry-leading encryption.
Today we take a look at another cloud storage service that doesn’t compete head on with either Dropbox or Mega but will be of interest to BitTorrent users wanting to grab and share content with friends at super high speeds.
“QVIVO is a very personal cloud media service so we wanted to try something a little more social with Hive. Hive not only gives you free unlimited cloud storage for all common files and formats but lets you create a network of friends that can share your files with a single click,” Hive founder and CEO Liam McCallum told TorrentFreak.
Of course, while storing and sharing files is all very nice, what really attracted us to Hive is the way users are able to upload content to their accounts. In addition to a drag and drop interface to dump local content into the cloud, Hive is also able to pull in media from BitTorrent swarms.
“BitTorrent is an incredibly efficient file transfer technology, and if used properly can help ease network congestion,” McCallum explains. “Consumer broadband is still relatively slow when uploading so allowing users to add content to their Hive through BitTorrent technology eases the burden of having to upload everything yourself. Instead of uploading that Linux iso just drag and drop the torrent link onto Hive and we’ll retrieve it for you.”
And it really is that easy. As can be seen from the screenshot above the Hive interface is clean and minimal. Theres a directory structure displayed on the left for keeping various types of content in order (music, movies, documents, pending transfers) and a straightforward drag-and-drop interface copes with local files plus .torrent and magnet links.
Once a magnet or torrent is dragged to the appropriate spot, Hive nips into the corresponding torrent swarms, grabs the content, and conveniently places it in your very own Hive account. If it’s a video Hive will then encode it so it can be played with its embedded video player, which is a bit like having your own personal BitTorrent-powered YouTube.
But of course, content is all very nice but it’s best enjoyed with friends and this is where Hive’s social aspects come into play. Users of the service can invite their friends into their own sharing circle where they are free to view each other’s content, listen to each other’s music, copy it to their own Hive or download it, all in complete privacy. Any files users don’t want to share can be locked away with a click.
“Hive files are in no way public. Your files will only be available to you and your trusted list of friends,” McCallum explains. “There are no public pages that users can discover or download your files from, and all pages and download links are locked and encrypted over SSL. We take the privacy of our members extremely seriously which is why we chose Germany and Switzerland as our data centre locations of choice.”
To the old school file-sharer Hive will probably evoke memories of Direct Connect hubs that allowed individuals to share content privately within their social circles. But well over a decade later things have improved no end and building a sharing environment is as simple as inviting established Facebook or Twitter friends and everyone pooling content.
Currently in its beta period, Hive is free to use with no limits although access to premium features is expected to cost a few bucks in the future.
“After the beta we’ll charge for features such as media streaming for under 10 bucks a month – but the monthly price will get cheaper with the more friends you have in your Hive, even free once you invite 100 friends,” McCallum concludes.
It’s certainly interesting to watch the cloud market develop and especially nice when a company throws BitTorrent into the mix – that always makes sense.