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There are lots of cloud storage services to choose from — but they all limit the amount of storage you get to some number of gigabytes, or cost money (sometimes both). When you hit a cap, you have to start deleting your files or, shudder, open a new account with a new service. Until now: Enter Hive.

hive-homepage

Hive, which launched October 13 this year and was included in this week’s Cool Websites & Tools Cool Websites & Tools - Bike Sizes, Wiki Surveys, & Free Unlimited Cloud Service Cool Websites & Tools - Bike Sizes, Wiki Surveys, & Free Unlimited Cloud Service Read More , is…

The first free unlimited cloud service in the world.

That’s a bold claim, so there are a few important things you need to know that make it stand apart from lots of other cloud services. Hive doesn’t offer syncing, and unlike other cloud services, other people can’t delete things from ‘shared folders’ — they can only download.

For the privacy conscious: Hive is ad-supported, and reserves the right to screen your files, so look elsewhere for storing private files.

These things make Hive a good place to dump neat, innocent things for your friends and family to access, but not a good place for confidential, intimate, or work materials.

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Getting Started With Hive

You can create a free account with Hive via email or with a social network. Hive asks that all users have a profile picture so it’s easier to identify your friends.

hive-account

After you get your account set up, your Hive will be empty. The interface as a whole is simple and clean, but can only be accessed on a browser wide enough (if you narrow your browser window the interface will disappear and request pops up to widen your browser). Hive also has apps for iOS and Android devices coming out soon. 

hive-default

Uploading & Sharing

Hive takes care of all your photos, your music collections, and your video libraries. When your friends add files, you’ll see updates that look something like this:

Hive-Activity

You can upload your files from a device or paste in a web link to files you want to add to your Hive. When the upload is complete, the file will be in your Transfer folder.

hive-upload

Move files to your intended folder for storage, and choose to share it with particular friends, or lock the folder for your access only.

hive-edit-folder

Once a download starts,you will have up to 4 hours to complete before the session times out. For the time being, Hive is limiting the number of videos and songs that can be uploaded at a time. If you try to upload multiple videos, it will allow you to upload the largest one only. If you try to upload multiple songs, the first one hundred will go before you have to return and upload another hundred.

The Experience

The experience of using Hive is a little clunky. You can’t upload whole folders at once, so you may need to manually recreate a folder structure you have on your desktop. It’s frustrating that, unlike Dropbox or OneDrive Cloud Storage Remains Competitive - Dropbox & OneDrive Compared Cloud Storage Remains Competitive - Dropbox & OneDrive Compared OneDrive is trying to catch up to cloud storage heavyweight Dropbox. Recent improvements include increased free storage space and raised file size caps. OneDrive has turned into a viable alternative, but is it better? Read More , you can’t upload to exactly the folder you wish — all files go to the ‘Transfers’ private folder and then have to be moved internally.

I uploaded two small files (less than 1MB) which didn’t take long, but they stayed in the Processing stage for what felt like a full minute before they were marked “In Your Hive!”. A 9.3 MB song I tried to upload sat in the Processing stage for more than 30 minutes.

The Beta stage has some spelling mistakes here and there, and the file download button is labeled “Download to Mac” even though I’m using a PC, but many of these things should be fixed in the near-term.

The Premium Version

You might be wondering how Hive makes money. Hive is ad-supported, but the Premium version (which is available for free until the beta-period is over) lets you remove them. Hive’s Premium accounts also let you stream high quality music and HD video, and uncap your download and streaming speed to use your full bandwidth.

Hive Premium starts at $9 monthly. However, the more friends you have, the less the premium version costs. If you have over 100 friends, the premium version is free.

Terms & Services, Privacy & Security

I want to re-iterate that it’s bold to claim to provide free, unlimited file storage. Expect a catch.

I rarely read Terms & Conditions (I, like many of you, would rather risk signing my soul away than suffer through legalese that probably won’t impact me anyway), but I did this time for you, my dear readers. The following are some pertinent points that I’ve freed from legal jargon from Hive’s Terms & Services section.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, so don’t take this as legal advice. The below information reflects Hive’s Terms & Services as of this writing only; Hive may update their terms whenever they want, and the onus is on you to check for changes.

Hive’s headquarters is Hong Kong, China. I reached out to Hive to inquire about regarding the implications of this, and Hive CEO Thierry Lehartel had this to say:

The company is incorporated in Hong Kong but 100% of our infrastructure is running out of Germany. We are taking privacy and security very seriously and this is the reason why we have as partner and investor Link11 who is a leading German anti-DDOS security provider. In addition Germany offers on the most [sic] stringent framework for data and privacy laws and no customer information will ever be released unless required by law. 

Make of his answer what you will.

Hive may (but has no obligation to) pre-screen, flag, filter, modify, refuse, or remove any content. I imagine that by ‘modify’ Hive means (as specified in their T&S section “Your Permissions And Instructions to Hive”) that Hive may make changes to files to conform and adapt to technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services, or media.

If you use a disproportionately high amount of Hive’s resources, or if Hive suspects you’re profiting from their service, they can terminate your account after an email warning, if you don’t respond. So, don’t ruin it for everyone. Of course, they don’t specify what counts as ‘disproportionate’, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Hive may cease service How To Protect Yourself From Online Services Shutting Down How To Protect Yourself From Online Services Shutting Down Google's unfortunate decision to shut down its RSS reader service, Google Reader, is an important reminder of just how unreliable the cloud can be. When using free online services, and in some cases even some... Read More at any time without notice. Though you shouldn’t expect otherwise from any cloud service.

You are only permitted to use Hive to manage and play lawfully acquired files from your own personal collection that you have the right to store/retrieve/share. So keep your unlawfully acquired files on your own storage devices, capisce? Not that you would have any unlawfully acquired files.

You are not permitted to use Hive for illegal file-sharing, or to operate your own content application. But you weren’t going to do those things anyway.

You must ensure your files are free from malicious or harmful code. No one should need to say it twice: don’t ruin it for everyone.

Hive may use/disclose your personal information to law enforcement or to their partners. At least they’re up-front about it?

* Editor’s Note: Since the publication of this post, Hive has clarified their privacy and security policies with a strong pledge.

What to Expect

Thierry Lehartel told me that a mobile version of the web app will be coming, including an offline mode.

We have a lot of ideas on experience and how the platform could be used but we will wait for user feedback before moving ahead. On the platform, short term is really Quality of Experience and making sure the application and streaming are fast and high quality. New features will come in due time but we want the foundation to be rock-solid.

Will You Use Hive?

Hive seems ideal for simple, social file-sharing between friends. Hive could be a great place to put videos of your indie band’s jam sessions for friends to stream, photos for relatives to download, or Creative Commons What Is Creative Commons, And Should You Use It? What Is Creative Commons, And Should You Use It? Creative Commons is a set of licenses which automatically give you permission to do various things, such as reuse and distribute the content. Let's find out more about it and how to use it. Read More -licenced DRM-free What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It's So Evil? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It's So Evil? [MakeUseOf Explains] Digital Rights Management is the latest evolution of copy protection. It’s the biggest cause of user frustration today, but is it justified? Is DRM a necessary evil in this digital age, or is the model... Read More music or games for siblings to share. Hive doesn’t seem the most appropriate place to store files for work, especially since at this time there is no desktop application or syncing folder.

What do you think? Is there a place for Hive in your life? A spot in between “I’m going to put this up on Facebook” where files quickly fall off your friends’ newsfeeds, and “I’m going to put this file in Dropbox Securing Dropbox: 6 Steps To Take For Safer Cloud Storage Securing Dropbox: 6 Steps To Take For Safer Cloud Storage Dropbox isn’t the most secure cloud storage service out there. But for those of you who wish to stay with Dropbox the tips here will help you maximize your account’s security. Read More /Google Drive” where files can only be accessed and edited by select individuals?

Did Hive’s CEO adequately assuage concerns of privacy, security, and the company headquarters based in China How To See If Any Website Is Blocked In China How To See If Any Website Is Blocked In China BlockedInChina.net, is a tool that checks whether a given website is accessible in China or not. With results from 5 different locations in China, this tool gives anyone in the world a fascinating look into... Read More ? How do you feel about your data being stored in Germany instead of in the United States? Is anywhere more secure than right at home Create Your Own Secure Cloud Storage With Seafile Create Your Own Secure Cloud Storage With Seafile With Seafile, you can run your own private server to share documents with groups of colleagues or friends. Read More ?

Image Credit: Hive Logo Light via hive.im

  1. Anandha ganesh
    April 30, 2015 at 3:01 am

    I cannot upload a ps3 games in hive..Is there any way??

  2. Gary W
    April 10, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    This is obviously a Chinese plot to snoop on everyone's information. SO what if they use Germany as a feel-good reassurance ploy? They know that capitalist citizens will do anything to get something FREE! Do not be fooled by this nonsense.. unless you'd rather have China spy you than the American NSA. I certainly don't.

    Quotes from the article: "The company is incorporated in Hong Kong but .. " AND "Hive may pre-screen, flag, filter, modify, refuse, or remove any content"

    • TheVictor
      July 7, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      In the business of information acquisition, geopolitical demarcations are truly of little consequence. It's safest to assume anything stored "in the cloud" could potentially be accessed by anyone, anywhere, given the right skills and resources. Hackers, even those employed by nation states, rarely respect borders.

  3. Chris
    March 29, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Hi,,
    what i wanted to do is to tranfer the files from hive to my google drvie, but I don't know how..

  4. Savvy Landlord
    March 4, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Girl you rock! Thanks for posting!

  5. guesswho
    January 20, 2015 at 8:25 am

    i don't how to download torrent using hive! i need to download more than 1G torrent file.

  6. dheeraj
    January 13, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    i dont understand why free???

  7. meme
    January 13, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Hive is a LIE!!!!
    I Had more than 190 friends. Suddenly they simply dissapear! The rules are very clear, u can have up to 300 friends. But Hive do not alloud me to add more frieds, because I reach the 110 friends limit!!!
    And Hive announce if you have more than a 100 friends, the upgrade to Premium is FREEEEEEEEEE!!!!
    But it is not! You must enter your credit card number and pay $ 3 for then.
    How can I trust in Hive my credit card number, if I cannot trust what they announced our in their own rules????
    Be very carefull users!!!

  8. marcello
    January 7, 2015 at 9:38 am

    It took a lot of time and work to get 130 friends to join my Hive. We were told the limit was 300 friends but it seems they have changed this with on notice. Today I went to my Hive and 30 of my friends were deleted by Hive admin. Needless to say, my deleted friends are pissed and it wasn't my choice who was deleted, they did it randomly. Without any warning Hive admin changed the friend limit to 100. Very underhanded move on their part to make you loose your premium status.

    • Jessica C
      January 14, 2015 at 12:17 am

      That's pretty rough. 100 Hive friends is pretty small!

  9. Tim Olyphchek
    January 5, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    One of the things that makes it tough, is that you can only add 2 people every couple of hours. The system blocks it as Spam.

    Combine this with that the fact that a user MUST be a Hive member to download or listen to your file, means they won't be cable to compete with other cloud service providers.

    Also the 50Gb a month limit is quite low for us audiophiles, it should be more like 50Gb a week.

    It's a nice concept, but long term? I'm not so sure.

  10. Wilol
    December 21, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I use Qihoo offers 36Tb with several very nice feature!

  11. radiax
    December 16, 2014 at 5:52 am

    add me on hive: beta.hive.im/join/fbe1

  12. wns
    December 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    beta.hive.im/join/2f48

  13. https://beta.hive.im/join/40e1
    December 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm
  14. sameera
    December 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm
  15. hiran
    December 10, 2014 at 8:22 am

    [url]https://beta.hive.im/join/f625[/url]

  16. hiran
    December 10, 2014 at 8:16 am

    add me , I have auto accept
    https://beta.hive.im/join/f625

  17. Gayya
    December 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    add me on Hive too
    https://beta.hive.im/join/e4c7/

  18. michaelisout
    December 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I love Hive.im best place to share and store files with friends.

  19. Downloader
    December 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm
  20. sasikiran
    December 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    we cant download more than one file from a single torrent

  21. Karl
    November 29, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Add me i'm always Online and Accepting request :)
    https://beta.hive.im/join/b781

  22. john
    November 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    beta.hive.im/join/db4f

  23. Realfree
    November 25, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Also,
    It chooses you main folders for you.
    You have Your Documents, Music, Etc.
    Those folders are already there.
    I would like to put music and pictures into the documents folder for example.
    But i can't.

  24. Realfree
    November 25, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Jessica,

    Actually only one thing.
    - It does not have a client.

  25. Windel
    November 25, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Add me
    https://beta.hive.im/join/d89b

    I'll accept you asap. :-)

  26. Realfree
    November 15, 2014 at 2:01 am

    I don't wish to speak ill of Hive.
    But i really don't like it.

    I use Qihoo 360 and the only downside to it is that it is in chinese but for the rest it has done me very well :)

    • Jessica C
      November 15, 2014 at 2:03 am

      Hi Realfree, thanks for weighing in. Curious, what didn't you like about Hive, and what does Qihoo 360 do better?

  27. adi
    November 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    add me https://beta.hive.im/join/acf4 if you need 100

  28. adi
    November 12, 2014 at 12:36 pm
  29. VJ
    November 11, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    You can add me here if you are fine - https://beta.hive.im/join/3475

  30. noyl
    November 1, 2014 at 4:20 pm
  31. joe
    October 31, 2014 at 1:17 am
  32. Norby
    October 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    If you are looking for friends, you can add me too :)) https://beta.hive.im/join/520e/
    gathering 100+ friends for premium is hard...

    • Jessica C
      November 7, 2014 at 9:13 am

      Hi Norby, try pitching it out to your friends on social media. We all have hundreds of facebook friends these days...

  33. Jeffrey Barber
    October 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    I'm sticking with the Google cloud. Occasionally back things up to One Drive, and iCloud. Done deal. Hive is going to have to convince me they have good encryption and the resources to make it happen.

    • Jessica C
      November 7, 2014 at 9:14 am

      Hi Jeffrey! I don't know about you, but I find I'm always running up close to my space limits. How do you stay comfortably under your however-many-gigabytes limit?

    • Dylan
      November 13, 2014 at 2:38 am

      I've examined the site's API calls and I can tell that Hive is using Google Cloud storage behind the scenes (storage.googleapis.com/hiveweb). Makes it more likely that when their google costs become too astronomical vs their ad-revenue, it'll be an easy exit for them -- no infrastructure to tear down, just stop paying your google bill.

      I like the "torrent" aspect of the service and the "sharing" aspect (reminds of of firedrive, and we all know what happened there). For content I care about, I use Google Drive.

    • Jessica C
      November 15, 2014 at 2:06 am

      @Dylan That's very interesting. I was under the impression that they had their own infrastructure in Germany, at least, thats what they told me.

      For the time being, Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive can't be beat for working on important files.

  34. James O'Brien
    October 22, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    There is a big hole in this plan, and it is called encryption. Where is it? Doesn't exist? Forget it.

    • Jessica C
      November 2, 2014 at 9:04 am

      James, thanks for weighing in. Hive seems to have a standard level of SSL certification, which includes encryption.

      Are you looking for a higher level of encryption of your cloud storage host, or Extended Validation?

  35. Charles
    October 22, 2014 at 12:36 am

    beta.hive.im/join/77c2/ if anyone is looking for friends. If you're logged in an click the link, it sends a friend request.

  36. Sushi
    October 21, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Cool concept :) might use it for some non-private files. The logo though is ah a little different

    • Jessica C
      October 22, 2014 at 9:37 am

      I hear ya on the logo. Certainly makes you look twice, doesn't it?

  37. Phoghat
    October 21, 2014 at 12:39 am

    all depends on their longevity, and personally I won't gamble

    • Jessica C
      October 22, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Thanks for weighing in. Curious, are you thinking they don't have the resources to stay alive long?

  38. Jerry K
    October 20, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    If their only gimmick is that they offer unlimited storage, they won't last long. The lack of privacy and giving up the ease of use of Dropbox/Box/Drive etc. will deter a lot of people. Having a desktop program is almost essential in today's world of cloud storage.

    • Jessica C
      October 20, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Hi Jerry - My guess is that by 'offline mode' they mean a desktop app of some sort. Maybe we'll see it when they come out of beta.

      How do you feel about the 'streaming' aspect of Hive? Not worth it?

    • zedizded
      October 21, 2014 at 12:23 am

      Well I think that this article missed the whole point of the hive and point is that hive is remote torrent client

      if you can see on the 4th picture http://bit.ly/1rZO7US there is on the left side paste web links area where you can paste link of .torrent file or magnet link and hive will download for example a new episode of your favorite show (limited at 2 simulations downloads)

      and if you can not access torrent client and you do not have permissions to install one this is a great solution for you

      once a new episode of your favorite show is in the hive you can download it as regular zip file, or you can watch it right there on hive on their player that even supports subtitles

      and that is by my opinion most alluring part of hive

    • Arif Rahman Ibrahim
      October 21, 2014 at 5:02 am

      It would only worth it if they have a mobile app.

      I really need a good cloud music services on my Nexus 4, other than Play Music or Spotify as neither is available in my country (Indonesia).

    • ooh
      October 21, 2014 at 9:01 am

      "You are only permitted to use Hive to manage and play lawfully acquired files from your own personal collection that you have the right to store/retrieve/share. "

      vs

      "hive is remote torrent client"

    • Jerry K
      October 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      To somebody familiar with torrenting, streaming, and XBMC, I'm just not sure that unlimited cloud storage like this is useful. It's just as easy to stream directly from the source in a torrent as it would be to stream from Hive. PopcornTime is one alternative, and you don't have to worry about the "naughtiness" of your files being stored in a service attached to you (that's not a concern though, everybody only streams content they own, right?)
      I don't know, I'm skeptical of this one. I think people will try it at first because it's new, but they're just not offering enough uniqueness to persuade the masses.

    • Oh yes
      October 23, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      @ooh - Oh please, Vuze and uTorrent and the rest of them has similar policies that you're not allowed to use them to acquire unlawful files.

    • Jessica C
      November 7, 2014 at 9:19 am

      @ooh & @Oh yes:
      It's hard to enforce only legally acquired files - but lots of companies have developed algorithms to notice when a copyrighted file is uploaded to their cloud servers.

      @Jerry K: I think most people do indeed tend towards streaming content instead of downloading and saving. There's very little content out there that we want to experience over and over again - we don't need copies of everything.

    • Dan
      November 10, 2014 at 5:33 am

      In case you need to get that 100 friends, you may add me:

      https://beta.hive.im/join/af3b

      I'll accept you as a friend as soon as I can.

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