The Paris based startup Infinit hits today a new milestone after announcing the opening of their private beta for their new P2P sharing software, along with a $500K round of funding from Alive Ideas, a fund held by the cofounders Clubic (now M6Web), as well as two early employees Sun Microsystems (bought by Oracle in 2009).
Anyone who works with multi gigabyte files knows the pain when it comes to sharing the file across team members. It’s not just the problem of a service that supports the file size, more and more file sharing services push file limit upwards on the gigabyte count. Speed also counts, because most common services like Skydrive or Dropbox require the file to first, be uploaded to the could, and second, downloaded by the other user.
That’s where the magic of P2P comes at play. Because of the inherent logic of P2P, files move directly from one user to the other – bypassing the cloud. This of course speeds up the process of having that large video file on your boss’ desktop, even before he starts questioning your company’s ISP future at the company.
It’s clear that P2P technologies can do a far better service at sharing large files from one user to another, yet it’s a market that has been idle for the past decade with no real innovation going on. P2P technology has also been plagued with internet illegal downloads and consumers still associate P2P as a tool to get illegal files across the web – which is arguably a good reason for Infinit to stay away of those words.
For whichever reason consumers need a sharing tool, the moment they do they want the easiest way to send that file. It’s not about a service being more reliable or providing better quality (be it P2P or other technology) – in the end all services will get the file to the other point, so the frictionless part becomes crucial for any service like this to take off. I had this issue many times before, sometimes I use Dropbox for the sake of just dragging and dropping the file and get the link, but often times I had not enough space so I had to backtrack on that. There are also web services that allow doing this, which have the great advantage of working with everyone with a connection – you just need the link. But then again, in the ever-increasing complexity of content ownership you never really know what you are giving up to use a free/paid web service for file sharing.
Anyone who has ever used Airdrop on OSX knows the joy of having it right there on the Finder, working for sure with anyone on a recent Mac, with fast transfer speeds and a beautiful interface. It’s a very rich experience. That’s the kind of joy that Infinit is expanding to everyone on OSX, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Android – wow!
Their promise is to bring free file transfers with no limits, with a beautiful user experience, on every major platform. It’s a kind of improved Airdrop where you can share simply with the e-mail of the other person – provided that he has the software installed. (Note that Airdrop requires both users to be on the same Wi-Fi network to be able to share files).
Being a multiplatform service gives them an advantage in the age of walled garden ecosystems, the same way OneNote will never win against Evernote, Infinit’s new service has the potential to put everything out there to shame in an attempt to change for good the way we share files, be it for work or personal use.
As you can tell I am very excited with their service! From the screenshots it looks dead simple to share and they seem to get the frictionless part right on this one. Now, it remains to be seen how big can they grow their user network. If users get the installation link from friends and think its spam it might be difficult for Infinit to scale up operations. But the guys at Infinit are well aware of this, that’s why they’re giving free for lifetime unlimited transfers for those who install the app during their private beta program. After that, the plan is to have the free plan capped at 2GB per transfer, with affordable pro accounts giving the unlimited goodness.