• ZumoDrive Beta Review

    I'm all about cloud storage. As a laptop-only user there is a limited amount of space I can carry with me so I use services like Dropbox and SugarSync continuously to store my gigabytes of files. A new service called ZumoDrive has entered the market with their beta and of course I've spent some time to trying it out.

    You can enter the beta for ZumoDrive by using the invite code modmyi or by simply clicking here. The beta gives 1 GB of storage free to test the service out.

    The Good

    ZumoDrive does things a little bit differently than its competitors. It tricks your computers into thinking the files are local allowing you to do some really neat things like using ZumoDrive to store your iTunes library out on the internet somewhere instead of locally on your computers -- great for us netbook users. I tested out this feature and was impressed with how quick and easy it was to get one of my laptops set up using ZumoDrive as the location of the library (once the entire library was uploaded -- 2 days) complete with the ability to add and remove music from the library through iTunes. It really does work just like local storage freeing up 60 GB of my hard drive space that previously was allocated for music (with a catch -- more details later).

    Something else ZumoDrive offers is caching which basically allows you to store copies of files locally so you can access them when you don't have internet access. You can choose what types of files Zumodrive will cache: Music, Pictures, Documents, or other depending on what is most important when you're offline. In my case documents are cached locally while everything else is stored on the cloud.

    If you're into photos and you like sharing them with your friends and family or posting them online or whatever ZumoDrive handles them in a totally awesome manner with their built in online photo gallery. Just link to the folder of photos you want to show and the rest is done automatically. Check out some ModMyi.com macworld pics here. Even better how about I simply use ZumoDrive's feature to embed the gallery right here?

    The Bad

    It's a beta so I do expect some immediate issues that need to be sorted before ZumoDrive goes out of beta (covered later) but there is one primary issue that is going to turn many people off of ZumoDrive. The pricing. While ZumoDrive does things significantly better than the competition many people are never going to give it a chance since it costs roughly two times more than SugarSync or Dropbox. When we questioned CEO David Zhao about pricing he said, "... regarding pricing, we heard our users pretty clearly. We are evaluating it now and will have a decision on it soon."

    The Average

    ZumoDrive has some features that one already expects from cloud storage including the ability to share folders, browse and download files via a web interface, recover older versions of files, and a few more. All these features are more or less self explanatory and are no better or worse than other cloud storage options. Also remember this is cloud storage. Like all cloud storage getting files on the cloud invloves uploading them. If you do not have a fast internet connection storing gigabytes of data online will be painful for you. Keep it in mind.

    What's to Come / Beta Warning

    I've been extremely forgiving about one major thing that the current beta is lacking because I understand the implications of the word "beta" and the folks at ZumoDrive have already committed to sorting the issue. Keeping that in mind where is the **** is AAC support? Yes ZumoDrive does not support AAC files yet. In the real world that means two thirds of my iTunes library is not playable when it resides on ZumoDrive (.mp4 files). This is something that should* have been supported before they went live. An awesome iTunes storage solution launched without support of Apple's favorite media file type is just ridiculous.

    On a more positive note ZumoDrive does have some really cool things on the way like "Folder Watching" that will watch for changes made to folders on your hard drive and mirror the changes on ZumoDrive, "Predictive caching" that will improve their caching system with the ability to guess what files you'll want, an iPhone Application (first look here), and an Andriod application for the google phone users.

    The Verdict

    I like the premise of ZumoDrive. The ability to easily use ZumoDrive for the iTunes music directory is simply excellent. Making cloud storage appear local on a machine is a brilliant idea and if ZumoDrive's competitors aren't already looking into similar functionality they should be.

    "ZumoDrive is what other cloud storage solutions are trying to be" is what I hope to be able to say in the near future dependent on how quickly the folks at ZumoDrive add in more filetype support (AAC FILES!) and whether or not the high prices for service are addressed. As mentioned earlier you can try ZumoDrive beta using the code modmyi on their site. Also the staff at ZumoDrive seem to be very responsive to suggestions and comments and problems with the beta on their forums so don't be afraid to tell them what you think.

    edit: ZumoDrive David says that .mp4 support should be out "within a week or so."
    I'm excited.

    oh and a nice quote from poetic_folly
    "They didn't give you a free unlimited account?!?! You pay for it? Those ********!"
    yes. I pay for it. I like ZumoDrive (except for the price).
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