Cloud File Sharing Start-Up Review: Minus

Cloud File Sharing Start-Up Review: Minus

Minus is a cloud-based, out of the box, straight-forward sharing platform which allows the users to upload and share photos, music, videos, PDFs and more. The site is focused on making everything simple and naturally convenient for the users. The site looks, sounds, interacts and then impresses and stands out ahead of others in its own simple, intuitive way. In the background, the minus is powered by Amazon’s latest, high-end EC2 and S3 cloud storage services.


Salient Features

Easy to Navigate

Located at the top right and bottom left of the home page, five to six hyperlinked words each in the header and footer, make up most of the Minus’s minimalist navigation. A quick search bar in the header lets you search for friends and others, to follow. You can also search through the galleries of people whom you are following, or you may hunt through your own uploaded items with the same Search Bar.

Easy to Manage, Fun to Share

To start sharing on Minus, you just have to drag and drop the item, you want to share, onto the homepage. To share another item, just repeat the same procedure, or follow the “Select” link, then select a file from your hard disk and click OK and yes, you’re done again. You can go on sharing like this, no stopping; however, you may like to take out a few seconds and type in your Username and Password for an instant Sign Up. This lets you have your own profile on Minus and access to all the handy features. Listed below are some aids and options which let the users manage and customize their uploaded items conveniently:

  • Users can create rich galleries or collections of different types of files like photos, music, videos and documents. Users can preview and scroll through their gallery items. They can edit or share their galleries by following the corresponding links.
  • The Edit and Share links can be copied or customized easily by clicking on the adjacent Clipboard and Pencil Icons respectively.
  • A short URL is instantly created and made conveniently available to the users as soon as they upload anything. Users can then customize the URL or share it with others.

Tools

Simplistic, lightly handy applications for different PC and Mobile platforms have recently been introduced; you can access them from the Tools tab. Desktop tool for Windows, Mac and Linux is out, and so are the beta version Mobile Apps for Android and WP7. Also, the super-active team has managed to release extensions for Chrome and Firefox within a very short time since Oct, 2010.

 

 

API

A concise, public REST API has been published, allowing people to build apps on the site. Python, Ruby, dot Net and PHP editions of the API will also be available soon. The API is currently out in the cloud, at Github, and open to general public for discussions and contributions under the GNU GPL v3.

Reception & Feedback

The site has garnered much critical and commercial acclaim, and its popularity is increasing at a great pace. General public very much liked its simplicity and obviousness. Users enjoy sharing files and photos, appreciating the site’s great convenience of use. Following are some of the Facts & Figures regarding the Minus’s performance in the cloud, since its inception.

  • The site serves over 300K active users.
  • Daily uploads have surpassed the 1,000,000 mark, and are growing rapidly.
  • The site pages have been viewed over 1 billion times since its launch.

Drawbacks

Minus is still new on the web and has some drawbacks and limitations, but the good thing is they are really working hard and making improvements at a very fast pace. Here are a few things that need some improvement as deemed by keen Minus users (including me).

  • Although brought up from 7 MB to a present amount of 50 MB, the file size limit is still too low to let the users share conveniently. The same is true for the 50 items per gallery limit.
  • The private galleries are not 100% secure, given anybody with the URL can access them; however, a password protection feature is expected to become operational soon.
  • The extensive use and display of full URLs is a feat, well-intended and well-executed minus a few instances where it’s a bit over-done, and looks more like “crude”, than being conveniently simple. The users, for example, don’t need even look at, let alone remember or customize the Edit URL, which merely navigates us to the gallery editing page.

Updates & Future Plans

The founders Carl Hu and John Xie, along with their active team and collaborators, have managed to release several updated versions of Minus, the latest being the v2.01. The new version has a bunch of new features and hot-fixes which have improved the site’s elegant look, server capacity and sharing convenience for users. Easy search tool and interactive gallery viewing features have just made sharing, a good notch more convenient and enjoyable. Work is speedily in progress on the following new and promising improvements:

  • Users will be able to upload and share Microsoft documents soon.
  • Apps for iPhone and iPad are scheduled to be released in near future.
  • New, more interactive gallery viewing aids will hopefully be operational before long.
  • Users will be able to embed fully functional galleries onto Minus.
  • Galleries will be password protected against intruders soon.

Conclusion

The biggest plus of Minus is its sheer simplicity, whether it is the sublime navigation, the intuitive drag-and-drop way to share files, or a small Lights ON/OFF switch in the corner. With min.us, anybody can get his/her own bulk of URLs and start Sharing Simply right away.

HomePage: Minus

Written By CloudTweaks Intern Reviewer

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