Kim Dotcom’s MEGA Launches for Testing

MEGAThere has been a lot of press surrounding Kim Dotcom, the man behind the popular file hosting site before the US authorities decided to confiscate the servers and attempt to extradite Dotcom on charges of copyright infringement. Megaupload may be dead, but Dotcom is fighting extradition and has found some success in New Zealand – and today his latest venture, MEGA, was launched to “early access users” so they can test it out and find any major bugs before the public launch tomorrow.

MEGA is more than an incremental update to what Megaupload offered, it is a much more streamlined and very aggressively priced cloud hosting service, email and office suite, looking like it is aiming to compete not just with the popular DropBox, but also Google’s cloud-based office suite, GMail and Google Drive. Dotcom is certainly not short on ambition.

As with Megaupload before it, the basic version of MEGA is free and offers users a generous 50GB of storage – which compares rather favourably to the 2GB offered by Dropbox, 5GB by Google Drive, and 7GB by Microsoft’s SkyDrive. Premium accounts then offer a number of extra features and come in tiers as set out in the graphic below:

MEGA pricing tiers

There will be far more to MEGA in the future, however, with Dotcom explaining in a blog post:

Time flies when building a website, and unfortunately, half of the launch feature list that we envisioned when we started implementing MEGA back in September has now turned into a post-launch development roadmap”

He then goes on to explain some of the upcoming changes in MEGA’s development roadmap:

Developer documentation enhancements:

  • Properly reformat and comment the JavaScript reference implementation so that it becomes more readable
  • Add missing command-specific documentation to the API reference

File transfer queue enhancements:

  • Vertical resizing
  • Drag & Drop to modify transfer sequence
  • Multiselect
  • Clicking on a pending transfer navigates to/marks the source file or the target folder
  • Stop/continue buttons

File manager enhancements:

  • Re-implement from scratch without underlying third-party UI framework for better performance
  • Adaptively eliminate the leftmost file path buttons at the top to maintain visibility of the upload and search buttons (we have a hack in place for this, but it only works in Chrome)
  • “Properties” option in the file context menu

Collaboration feature enhancements:

  • MEGA user-to-user messaging with file attachments, plus external RFC 4880/OpenPGP and S/MIME gateway for secure off-site e-mail communication
  • MEGA user-to-user instant messaging
  • Exported link enhancements
  • Allow for the creation of folder links (with associated crypto key) which then display the folder content live
  • Secure unauthenticated delivery web widget
  • Allow unauthenticated users to securely deliver files to MEGA users’ inboxes, e.g. to submit very large files to print shops

Filesystem enhancements:

  • Activate storing all block MACs on the server (encrypted) after an upload to allow for integrity-checked partial reading. Right now, the file has to be downloaded fully to be checked.
  • Enable forking encrypted time-stamped delta file support to allow for random writing to existing files with full rollback capability

SDK enhancements

  • Complete the API documentation
  • Provide client libraries in various languages

Client applications

  • A Windows filesystem mount is currently in beta and will be available shortly
  • Linux/MacOS X filesystem mounts
  • Mobile access
  • Sync tools for all major platforms

Integrated on-site applications

  • Calendar
  • Word processing
  • Spreadsheet

MEGA as a local “appliance”

  • Load a third-party audited version of the MEGA JavaScript files from a machine that you control
  • Be immune against new bugs of any kind

Dotcom certainly knows how to manage a large file hosting service, with Megaupload previously hosting many many terabytes of data and huge amounts of data transfer. But the question people will be asking before they start using this service is whether Dotcom can stay on the right side of the law and whether this service will be a safe place to host your files for the foreseeable future.

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