If I’ve seen one file sharing web service in the past few months I’ve seen a about twenty. But this one stands out from the pack in several respects; most notably its (ad-free) stylishness and support for multiple platforms and devices.
Minus is a file hosting service that will let you upload and share large (or small) files online; it will let you upload as many files as you want provided that the largest individual file is a max of 50 megs (which, rumor has it, will be upped to 100 megs soon) 200 megs (as of Aug 15 2011).
Files can be shared publicly or privately, and they never expire. Minus lets you share images in automatically generated galleries, and will let you and your friends follow each other, Twitter-style, to keep up with each other’s shared files.
Files can be accessed in the browser, within a desktop client, on the iPhone or any iOS, Android, and other devices.
- Desktop integration: you will seldom encounter a better suite of desktop tools to connect to and manage your files in the cloud, including a third party appthat puts Minus in the Windows send-to menu. Check out the desktop app in the screenshot to the right
- No ads: unlike other hosting services, that bombard you with ads on multiple pages. Not sure if they will come eventually, but I get the feeling that if/when they did, they will conform to the general stylishness of the web app.
- Drag and drop: related to “desktop integration” above. Drag and drop files to the Minus’ tray icon to upload, or launch the desktop app and drag files to folders or albums that are already there.
- No upload limit: as long as the files are within the max size allowed (50 megs as of this writing, although in my tests of this service the max upload limit seems more like 45 megs or so). This means that you can pretty much share everything you want, as long as you create spanned zipped archives that split larger files for you.
- Device support: iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone (so far). The iPhone app leaves a lot to be desired though, lacking gallery-style thumbnails and
- Galleries: switch from grid view (below left) to linear/carousel view (below right). Users can post comments on all links.
- Upload screenshots: seems to be quite a fashionable function these days, for some reason. Minus has its own built in take-a-screenshot-and-upload function.
- Browser extensions: are available for Chrome and Firefox.
- iPhone app: is text heavy, lacks thumbnails for images, and is very un-iPhone like and needs to be redesigned, methinks.
- 200 meg limit: [edited 8/23/2011] the upper limit has been changed twice from 50 to 100 to 200 megs.
- Pause/abort uploading: once you start uploading via the desktop app, you cannot pause or abort (short of shutting the program down). You also cannot manage uploaded files via the desktop client, in terms of moving them from one folder to another.
The verdict: Minus is in altogether different class from most file sharing services (especially the ad-heavy sites that you might typically think of).
Personally, I am very keen on the desktop integration, which is why I like this one; I also like that I can access my files on my iPhone, and that I can publish them to their own URL in a single click. And despite being a big Dropbox aficionado (and the overlap in their functionality) Minus will nonetheless hold a permanent spot on my desktop, if only for the fact that (a) unlike Dropbox, there is no limit to the amount of files you can upload, (b) the fact that it can be used as a permanent file repository, rather than a Dropbox style cloud folder sync, and (c) I like the “social site” style functions, such as following other users/being followed, and that users can comment on all published links/URLs, etc.
Overall, an excellent service and highly recommended.
Version tested: 1.5 (on Windows)
Compatibility: Multiplatform desktop client (Windows, Mac, Linux; 32 bit or 64 bit); Apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone (with more to come); Firefox and Chrome extensions.