Bitcasa is a new startup that positions itself as an ‘Infinite Storage on Your Desktop’. I saw their demo, and backstage interview with Jason Kincaid at this weeks TC Disrupt conference. Most of the judges seem to compare them with Dropbox. However, the founder/CEO Tony Gauda say’s they are not like Dropbox but instead a user’s hardrive in the cloud.
I am yet to try their product, but based on the backstage interview it seems to me that Bitcasa is an extension of Dropbox without the contents of the data in your local machine(s) Dropbox Folder.
– The actual file is stored in the local machine and an exact copy in the Cloud.
– You always request a file from the local computer(s) (unless you use the Web Client).
– All changes you make are in the local copy of the file. These changes are ‘synced’ to the copy
in the cloud.
– The actual file is NOT stored in the local machine. The reference to a file is stored in
the local machine. [A ‘hash’ as Tony metions]
– When you request a file from the local machine, Bitcasa is actually making a request to it’s Cloud(BitCasa) and gets the file back that matches the hash. [If not already present in the local cache based on past user behavior]
– All changes you make are stored in the cloud. There is no local copy except for cached data
to stream data faster to your computer(s).
The problems I see with the Bitcasa model are the latency issues of getting the data to my local machine. It might work perfect for me living in Silicon Valley with a decent high speed internet connection. However, if I am in some remote town with a dialup or slow internet connection, I will most likely have issues trying to access my own data. In the Dropbox model, I at least have access to the latest data before I venture into a no-internet zone.
I was lucky enough to have acess to Google+ during the first few days of launch. I played with it for a while and was able to see some similarities and differences between the services.
What I like about Google+ ?
- Design: The interface for Google+ seems very clean and intuitive for most of the simple tasks.
- Huddle: This seemed like a feature that I could see myself using. It’s fairly normal for most people to send a group text for a random last minute outing, but the replies are adressed only to the initial sender. This solves the problem that all the conversation is visible to everyone added to the huddle.
What I like about Facebook+ ?
- Closed Network: I have been using facebook since the fall of 2004 while I was doing my undergraduate degree. It was a nice and simple service that was public only to my own college network. Firstly, every friend on my account was someone I had personally met at least once. Secondly, every non-friend’s profile I was browsing was someone who already was going to my college and the probablity of meeting them was higher than using any of the existingg services of the time like frendster, hi5, where you could add people from half way across the world and have no clue if they are real or not.
- Being myself: Since everyone in my network is(or was :) ) in my age group that I hung out during classes, libraries, or in the evenings, I am more comfortable talking about anything or being just plain silly. This was a true migration of the offline activity to the online world(read facebook wall) since it was just pure fun. This activity extended to “status messages”, “photos” as and as they were introduced with time.
What I dont like about either services today ?
- Public Network: Facebook had to eventually open up it gates due to it’s viral growth (and make money) to the general public. This meant anyone/everyone could have a facebook account and add you as a friend. Now, you had this new problem of deciding if you wanted to accept the friend request or not and then accordingly start curbing your “Being myself” behavior.
- Circles/FriendLists/Groups: Facebook came out with filters by placing friends into lists and having the option to create groups. And Google came out with the concept of Circles, which is basiclaly friend lists and groups repackaged in a nice and easy to use UI. It does solve the problem of segregating people from seeing private posts, but then it creates a new problem of having to mentally sort out content and deciding if/which posts should which set of friends see it.
- Circles (Google Specific): It’s been roughly 2 weeks since the service lauched and every other day I get an email saying “So and so” has added you to their Circle. Many of these are from people whom I had an email exchange or met them, but don really want to add them into my network. If I don’t add them, they will figure this out since they never got an email saying “I have added them to m circle” and/or find out from my profile. If I do, I need to create a new circle (again more work) for such people and start being careful what I share with whom. As of today, I do have grouped people into different circles, but all my posts are public since I am only sharing articles, or posting pictures of food/scenery. Posting content based on circles is too much work.
In all, I feel, I need a complete different network for my needs and not just UI filters like lists, groups, and circles. I liked the idea about keeping my college friends and similar people in facebook, my co workers in linkedin and so on. Ofcourse, I could always add a coworker into my facebook if we are pretty much like friends hanging out a lot and vice versa. Facebook definitey has the upper edge in real people social behavior being ported to the online world by starting as a closed college network. This didn’t happen overnight, it took years. In my opinion, I dont feel Google+ will be able to disrupt the social behavior that easily. Instead it might become a twitter like service where photos, videos, blogging is all inbuilt into the service without the 140 character limit, which is still a WIN for Google.
followed up on their tutorials and also made a really simple web app
where people can submit a quip. I use facebook connect for
authentication and other cool stuff from their graph API like the
“comment system”, “like button” etc to interact with my web app. It’s live but I have not really tried to promote it either, as it was
more of a project for myself to make something using appengine and
facebook API’s. However, since it’s purely a fun webapp similar to
hotornot, fmylife, etc I am unsure how many people would like to
authenticate using their facebook accounts. I can always change the
login system to use just a simple user/password, since i don’t really
need the social graph. Now, having some background dabbling with app engine, facebook I would
like to make a utility app that would definitely benefit a lot having
access to facebook’s social graph for a user and also the somewhat
limited followers graph on twitter. The dilemma I am facing is should
I actually rely on people using their facebook (or even twitter)
accounts to authenticate into my web app. Or do i come up with my own
authentication system and build relationships within it. What do you
guys feel ?