Hard drives are getting bigger and faster every year, but they're just barely keeping pace with the rate at which our data are expanding. A new service called Bitcasa wants to be the last hard drive you ever need, by offering seamless and infinite (infinite!) cloud-based storage for all of your data.
Bitcasa is a simple concept: a little piece of software lives on your computer and creates a virtual drive by connecting to Bitcasa's servers. Every time you save something to that drive, it goes off to live in the cloud, and you never run out of drive space. Bitcasa will figure out what files you use most often and keep them local for fast access, but in general, you're simply not storing any data on your computer.
The idea, though, is that you'll never be able to tell that this is going on: browsing through your Bitcasa drive is just like browsing through a local hard drive, and with a fast enough network connection, you'll never notice that all of your data are actually streaming. At the same time, Bitcasa is acting as a backup and recovery service, since most of your data is stored somewhere else, insulating you (to some extent) from viruses, theft, natural disasters, and evil robots. Not bad for $10 a month.
I know, this sounds wonderful and you're totally into it, but let me preempt a flood of angry comments by pointing out a few of the potential downsides of this service:
- Most of your data is somewhere else, and if that somewhere else goes out of business, you're screwed.
- Most of your data is somewhere else, and if that somewhere else gets hacked, you're screwed.
- Most of your data is somewhere else, and if you need a lot of your data all at once, you're screwed.
- Most of your data is somewhere else, and if you go over your bandwidth cap trying to access it, you're screwed.
- Most of your data is somewhere else, and if you lose your Internet connection, you're screwed.
So there's a lot of ways to get screwed here, even more than I mentioned, but the nutshell is that you're giving someone else control over your data, which is always a dicey thing. I'm betting that before you use Bitcasa you have to check a box that says that they can feed your data through a wood chipper without assuming any responsibility whatsoever, which is kind of part for the course with services like this, but unlike cloud backup and syncing services, Bitcasa wants to be your one and only hard drive. I'm a big proponent of cloud storage, and I like the idea of a virtual drive with infinite storage and infinite accessibility, but to be honest, this makes even me a little bit nervous.