We recently announced that we had launched our OpenS3 beta. The purpose of OpenS3 is to allow any Amazon S3 user to be able to access the SMEStorage platform and take advantage of all the channels and features we have. This means if you would like to have access to your Amazon S3 files via your iPhone for example you now can. If you want to share your Amazon S3 files or use them on Facebook you can , and much more.
After you have registered for the beta, using OpenS3 is simple. You merely enter your Amazon S3 keys (and choose to store them on our servers or not. If not you will need to enter them each time you access your account) and then we import the metadata from you S3 file to the SMEStorage platform. We don’t move the files themselves or change them in anyway. This means you can still access them from any other S3 tool that you choose.
Once you have synchronised you can then choose to change your filenames and store the files in a proper directory structure. Again this will not change the core S3 files. We overlay a proper directory structure on top of S3.
Once you have completed this process you can use the rich SMEStorage filemanager to access all the additional functionality that we provide over and above Amazon S3 such as being able to back up any email account to S3, easy file sharing, unique url for each file, Public files, Business Groups, Faxing, and integration with Flickr, PicniK, Zoho etc.
SMEStorage is now integrated with ScribD using their iPaper API which allow PDF’s to be viewed inline within the browser from SMEStorage without having to download them to view them. This compliments existing integration within the SMEStorage platform that allows users to view and edit Microsoft Office documents and view and edit graphic files.
Business Groups are one of the collaboration of SMEStorage. The basic premise is that you can create a Group and invite users to it. This is very easy to do as you can see from our previous post on groups. Anything that you then share with the Group will be shared with all members of the group. Group members will receive an automated email message letting them know that a new file has been shared with them. Members can also receive Twitter messages when a file is shared with them if they have chosen to enter their Twitter details in their SMEStorage user preferences. You can also choose to allow other users to share files with your business group.
So what are groups useful for ? Well we polled some of our users to see what they were using them for and we found some interesting uses. One of our users is using Groups as a way to keep his sales partners updated with corporate product collateral and technical documentation. He has formed what he calls a “content sharing network”.
Another of our users is in a band and after doing some live recording he tweaks the results in Garage Band and shares them with his bandmates.
Many others are using the Business Groups to keep in touch with family by sharing photos and files
Quite an innovative and bandwidth friendly use is that users are using Business Groups to share jokes etc. Normally friends have a user list in which they send the same joke, which can include a video and picture, to all their friends. Using Business Groups they just do an upload and all their friends get notified.
We’ve had quite a few feature requests for Business Groups and we will consider adding some of the more common ones, such as allowing the option to make business group members private. Watch this space for the rest !