When it comes to sharing files with other users over the Internet, you have a couple of options at your disposal. One of the most popular ones, using file hosting services uploads the files to a server from where these files can be downloaded by users who get hold of the download link.
Downloaders rely only on the capacities of the hosting infrastructure when it comes to download speeds and availability, which often slows down downloads. Bittorrent Inc. today announced the launch of SoShare, a new web powered file sharing service that combines traditional hosting with Bittorrent technology.
The service looks like any other file hosting service on first glance. You can upload files to SoShare servers and share those files with other users. When it comes to the technology used, fundamental differences become visible.
Once you have signed up for the service, which requires that you enter an email address and custom password in the sign up form, you are automatically taken to the dashboard. Here you are reminded that you need the SoShare plugin to send or download files, and that you will be prompted to install it when you do so for the first time.
All you can do here is to click on the send files button, edit your contacts list or access settings that enable you to change your name, avatar thumbnail, password and local download directory.
Once you have restarted the browser after the installation of the plugin you are good to go. A click on send files open a configuration dialog where you can select files that you want to share, a title and message, as well as recipients that you want to share the files with. The title and recipient fields are mandatory, while the message field is optional.
All files will be bundled into a single download that gets then uploaded to the SoShare server. Once files have been uploaded, you can enable links which lets you share a link to the download directly.
Users who download the files not only use the server's bandwidth to do so, but also bandwidth of other users who are downloading or have downloaded the file. While this may not provide you with a big speed boost if there is one user or two who do that, it may be an excellent opportunity to speed up downloads for popular files.
Files expire automatically after 30 days or on manual request.
SoShare is not reinventing the wheel here but it could become a viable file sharing alternative for users who can't find hosters that accept larger files they want to make available. The need for a plugin is certainly something that will keep some users away from the service while others may not have issues with it.
The idea to power downloads by combining the power of Internet servers with peer to peer technology is definitely not new, but it is executed well from what I can tell.
It would have been great if uploaders could make available torrents for the files for use in Bittorrent clients, but that would have probably made the service too attractive for the file sharing scene.
Update: SoShare is no longer available, the website returns a not found error.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.