Wuala is definitely one of the most under-reported start-ups, and there’s no good reason for that. It takes the best features out of both Dropbox and Mozy to create a must-have online file storage service for anyone with a computer.
Developed by Dominik Grolimund and Luzius Meisser, the technology behind Wuala is truly amazing. By using a ‘grid’ algorithm, Wuala can take advantage of unused disk space across its network of users in addition to data-centre storage. This keeps Wuala’s costs down, because there is no need to buy space in data-centres and it also makes their service incredibly attractive to newcomers who need online file storage.
Instead of paying a fixed rate for a certain amount of space, users can choose to allocate a part of their free hard drive space to share with the Wuala community. If you share 50GB and leave your computer online, you get 50GB of online file storage in return. There is however no obligation to participate in sharing – you get 1 GB free forever from the Wuala team and up to 6GB for inviting your friends. There are also payed plans for more demanding users.
Wuala encrypts all your files before sending them to the ‘grid’, and also ensures that it is distributed among many machines. Unlike other services, the password to your data never leaves your computer and the redundancy in the algorithm allows for machines to be taken offline while still maintaining data integrity. Wuala runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and even in your browser thanks to the portability of the Java programming framework. Unlike most other Java applications, you can expect to run Wuala without crashes or poor performance.
Another benefit of the Wuala P2P ‘grid‘ is the virtually unlimited bandwidth for both upload and download – basically the same benefits bit-torrent downloads have over traditional CDNs, with up to 100 peers in parallel for each file. I’ve noticed a sizeable increase in speed over Microsoft’s Live Mesh, Dropbox and Mozy. I’ve had sustained upload speed of over 900Kb/s, the highest I’ve personally seen in an online file storage service.
With Wuala you can keep private files only you can access, share folders with friends or publish them to the world, much like Dropbox. Thanks to the user friendly interface, using the app is a breeze. Adding files is as simple as drag and drop, backup as simple as selecting a folder and the desired sync frequency.
You can also create groups for sharing files with your family, co-workers, projects and keep track of them thanks to the integrated file revisioning.
For those of you who prefer to use the local language Wuala is available in English, German, French, Brazilian, Russian, Swedish, Chinese, and Polish.
Caleido – the company behind Wuala – has been bought by LaCie, the renowned hard drive manufacturer, in March of 2009. In addition to that, more than 100 million files are reported to be stored on the Wuala grid. There’s no need to worry that the service might go down in the foreseeable future so why not go to wuala.com and sign up for a free account.
If you’re not convinced, why not go check out the demo account? Visit Wuala, click on the red START button, and login with the username John and password asdasd. Let us know your impressions in the comments.