Online storage – the next killer web app

Amazon S3 – “Simple Storage Service” – is coming very shortly. Others will no doubt follow – talk about Google Drive has been floating around for a bit.

The trick with all of these services should be that many people back up a lot of the same stuff. The same DLLs, the same MP3 files, the same application binaries. An intelligent client should be able to checksum the stuff on your local disk and only upload it if it’s not already stored on the service by somebody else, in which case it should just upload a pointer. Likewise, many files are very similar, and some intelligent differencing should mean that only patches need to be uploaded.

Your PC will soon just be a cache of your online world…

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And about time! We were talking about developing this kind of service back in 2000, when I worked for a company with the ability to do it. I’m amazed no one has got around to it yet – providing a network storage solution promoted and accessible to the average user, paying or otherwise.

I guess the trial will be will people trust it, particularly in light of Google’s recent run in with the US government. I suspect for a lot of people it doesn’t matter, and services like .mac already offer this to some degree, and no one objects. I guess the other important factor is what will the SLAs be like as people come to trust the services – what are the upime and backup guarantees? The problem will be that a lot of people won’t read them or will just forget and become dependant on them, and then *poof* their data is gone just when they need it. Then someone in the US will try and sue.

Still, I do like the idea. My .mac account is useful, but not uniquitous enough – if I’m not going between macs I end up gmailing myself data if scp isn’t an option.

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