Store It on the Web

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Collaboration: Online Storage (chart)

Rather than wrestle with e-mail attachments, let these services distribute your digital images, documents, and other files to family, friends, and coworkers.

SERVICEPCW RatingPricingFree trialBrowser-based accessMap as network drive
1 4shared.com 93
Superior
Free for up to 500MB (25MB maximum file); $5 per month or $48 per year for 1GB (100MB maximum file); $6 per month or $60 per year for 1GB (no file-size limit)n/aYesYes
Has an easy-to-use interface; provides multiple permission-based folders, but you can't upload multiple files at once.
2 Groove Virtual Office90
Superior
$69 for the file-sharing edition; $174 for the professional edition 60 daysNoNo
Real-time file sharing; collaboration on Word docs, and more. Works only with PC-based app (no browser access).
3 WebEx WebOfficeWorkgroup84
Very Good
$60 per month for up to five users and 250MB; $100 per month for ten users and 400MB (additional users are $20 per month each)30 daysYesYes
Feature-rich Web-based storage for files, contacts, calendar, tasks, and databases, but no real-time interaction.
4 RapidShare77
Very Good
Free for unlimited storage (file size limit of 100MB)n/aYesYes
The only choice for unlimited downloads of gargantuan files; you face an annoying wait before downloads start.
Beta, not rated YouSendIt (betan/aFree for up to 100MB (25 downloads, stored 7 days); $5 per month for 1GB (100 downloads, stored 14 days); $30 per month for 2GB (200 downloads, stored 14 days)n/aYesYes
Ideal for large files; has a simple interface and Contacts list for storing recipient e-mail, but storage is time-limited.
CHART NOTES: Pricing and ratings are as of 5/10/06; n/a = not applicable.
Jon L. Jacobi is a contributing editor, and Erik Larkin is an associate editor for PC World. Contributing Editor Steve Bass writes the Bass Blog and is the author of PC Annoyances, published by O'Reilly.
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