Bitcasa

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Bitcasa
Bitcasa Logo.png
Original author(s) Tony Gauda
Kevin Blackham
Developer(s) Bitcasa, Inc.
Initial release September 2011
Development status InActive
Operating system Microsoft Windows
OS X
Android
Linux
Type Cloud storage
Website www.bitcasa.com

Bitcasa, Inc., was an American cloud storage company founded in 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.[1] The company is based in Mountain View, California,[2]

Bitcasa provides client software for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Android and other web browsers. An iOS client is pending Apple approval.[3] Its former product, Infinite Drive, once provided centralized storage that included unlimited capacity, client-side encryption, media streaming, file versioning and backups, and multi-platform mobile access.[4] In 2013 Bitcasa moved to a tiered storage model, offering from 1TB for $99/year up to Infinite for $999/year.[5] In October 2014, Bitcasa announced the discontinuation of Infinite Drive; for $999/year, users would get 10TB of storage.[6] Infinite Drive users would be required to migrate to one of the new pricing plans or delete their account.[6] In May 2016, Bitcasa discontinued offering cloud storage for consumers, alleging that they will be focusing on their business products.

History[edit]

The company was launched after a product became a finalist at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in September 2011.[7] In 2012 Tony Lee was recruited as "vice president of engineering"[8] and Frank Meehan joined the company's board of directors.[9] In June 2012 Bitcasa closed their series A round of funding, which totaled $9 million. The company's investors included: CrunchFund,[7] Pelion Venture Partners, Horizons Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Samsung Ventures and First Round Capital.[10]

Products and services[edit]

Bitcasa provided client software for web browsers, OS X, Microsoft Windows, Linux and a mobile app for Android. Windows versions include XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Bitcasa products provide centralized streaming storage so that all devices have simultaneous and real-time access to the same files. Files uploaded from one device are instantly available on all devices. Bitcasa does not require file syncing between devices. Centralized storage eliminates the need to duplicate files across devices or wait for files to become synchronized.[11]

The company has a patent pending for an "infinite storage"[12] algorithm designed to reduce the actual storage space by identifying duplicate content and providing encryption of the stored data.[13][14] According to Popular Mechanics magazine, Bitcasa uses a convergent encryption method whereby a client's data is assigned an anonymous identifier before it is uploaded. If that data already exists on the Bitcasa servers (such as a popular song), it is not uploaded but is instead earmarked as available for download by that client. This protocol is said to reduce upload time.[15] Bitcasa's encryption method reportedly cloaks the data while it is still on the client's computer and then blocks of data are sent by an enterprise-grade AES-256 encryption method to the data cloud for storage.[16] According to ExtremeTech, this service gives users access and ownership rights to their own data.[17]

In a review by Gizmodo of Australia, Bitcasa's cloud service was described as a "winner" that is "pricier than its competitors" but supported by Mac, PC and Android platforms.[18]

Mobile[edit]

Users could access their Bitcasa Infinite Drive through mobile apps which are available for Android, Windows RT, and browsers and support offline viewing of files. The app collects and displays individual media types such as photos, video, music, and documents, independently of the folder hierarchy that they are stored in. Video files are streamed and auto-transcoded based on the device bandwidth. Items may be uploaded or downloaded or shared directly with social media sites. Files of any size can be shared with a web link that can distributed via email, text or IM.[19] After the initial server migration, only apps for Android, iOS and browsers were updated, effectively rendering other devices unusable with the service.

Security[edit]

A September 2011 article published in Extreme Tech said that Bitcasa's convergent encryption based system is "mostly" safe but has some risks associated with it. According to the article "while convergent encryption is perfectly secure on the face of it, it is more vulnerable than a private key method." [17]

New pricing and changes[edit]

November 2013

On November 19, 2013, the company announced that its Infinite Storage offering would increase in price from US$99/year to US$999/year. The move sparked an intense reaction from users at the company's forum, even though existing users were grandfathered into the original pricing plan.[20] Reactions from bloggers were particularly critical.[21][22] The announcement of the pricing plans change on the Bitcasa blog was commented on heavily by users. This post,[20] and the ensuing comments were removed from the internet by Bitcasa.

Bitcasa offers two new plans in addition to the Infinite Plan: Premium ($100/year for 1 TB) and Pro ($499/year). The company also informed the customers that the existing users would continue paying the same prices as before while renewing but without access to new features such as the Linux client.

Bitcasa also introduced a new developer program providing an API for developers to allow the integration of the Bitcasa storage system in various applications.[20]

October 2014

On October 23, 2014, Bitcasa announced it would be removing all of its grandfathered 'infinite' plans. Although the company had assured customers that these plans would be continued as long as they had not cancelled their service[23][24](the company removed their official blog post about this, though it is still available on WayBack Archive),[25] Bitcasa backtracked due to 'lack of demand' and 'abuse'.[26]

The company instead offered previous clients the same packages that regular users pay[26] at $10/month for 1TB ($99 annually) or $99/month for 10TB ($999 annually).[27]

The company gave users 23 days to migrate or download their data, or it would be deleted.[26] This move was criticized by many users as not being physically possible at the download rates provided by Bitcasa.[28]

As a result of a system migration, in which customers were forced to move their data to a "new system", some users had data loss, some of which was not replaceable. Angry customers gave the company bad feedback, and the community forum became less active.

The company has offered yearly subscribers the right to cancel and get a prorated refund. However, it disabled the ability to cancel accounts and refused to delete accounts through its support system.[29][30][31]

On 13 November (2014), Northern Californian district judge William Alsup granted a temporary restraining order, enjoining Bitcasa from deleting and disabling access to Infinite Plan subscribers' data.[32] Bitcasa filed a response on 18 November, challenging the legality of the TRO.[33] As an apparent result of the restraining order, Bitcasa announced a 5-day extension of the deadline in an email to users on 16 November; the email did not mention the restraining order.[34] A hearing was set for 10.00 on 19 November; Bitcasa 'won' the lawsuit.[35]

In February (2015), the Community Forum was shut down because of allegations that Bitcasa is working to improve their product.[36][clarification needed]

April 2016

In April 7, 2016, the company switched their free 5GB plan to a free trial tier. Users with this account prior April 7 will automatically start the trial and after the 60-day trial, if the user has not changed to a paid plan, their account and data will be deleted from the server.[37]

A few weeks later, in particular, April 21, 2016, Bitcasa decided to discontinue their cloud storage service, alleging that they will be focusing on their business products. Users will have until May 20, 2016 to download their data. After this date, all user data will be deleted regardless if the user was able to download it or not.[38] Bitcasa shut down their consumer cloud storage at the end of May 20, 2016, only offering products for developers.

September 2016

After 4 Months, they didn't refund customers for their discontinued cloud storage service and the website of Bitcasa is now inaccessible.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bitcasa's Tony Gauda on boosting black tech entrepreneurs". St. Louis Business Journal. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Bitcasa, Inc., Bloomberg Businessweek
  3. ^ "Bitcasa". Twitter. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  4. ^ Bitcasa brings ‘infinite’ cloud storage to Android & Win 8 with new apps, iOS & Mac coming soon. VentureBeat. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  5. ^ Bitcasa's infinite cloud storage balloons to $999 a year Engadget. Retrieved on 2014-10-23.
  6. ^ a b Bitcasa nixes unlimited storage plan as it upgrades its infrastructure GigaOM. Retrieved on 2014-10-23.
  7. ^ a b With Bitcasa, The Entire Cloud Is Your Hard Drive For Only $10 Per Month, TechCrunch, September 12, 2011.
  8. ^ Unknown author (Sep 17, 2012). "Bitcasa Appoints Tony Lee Joins as VP of Engineering". Manufacturing Close-Up. 
  9. ^ Staff writer (Sep 25, 2012). "Industry Veteran Tony Lee Joins Bitcasa as Vice President of Engineering.". Journal of Technology. 
  10. ^ Taylor, Colleen. "Bitcasa Launches Its \u2018Infinite Storage\u2019 App To The Public To Take Down Traditional Hard Drives". TechCrunch. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  11. ^ Bitcasa turns your hard drive into a cloud server with infinite space. VentureBeat. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  12. ^ Unknown author (Nov 27, 2012). "WIPO Publishes Patent of Bicasa". US Fed News Service. 
  13. ^ Bitcasa Will Offer Unlimited Cloud Storage for $10 a Month, PC World, September 13, 2011.
  14. ^ Bitcasa gets an early start on IP acquisition, Startups and IP Strategy, September 12, 2011.
  15. ^ Unknown author (January 1, 2012). "Convergent Encryption". Popular Mechanic. 
  16. ^ TechCrunch talks to Bitcasa CEO about encryption TechCrunch September 2011
  17. ^ a b "How convergent encryption makes Bitcasa's infinite storage possible". Extremetech.com. September 20, 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  18. ^ Limer, Eric (March 23, 2013). "The Best Cloud Storage Services". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  19. ^ Crook, Jordan (23 July 2013). "30 Petabytes Later, Bitcasa Takes Infinite Storage To Version 2.0 With Revamped Android, Desktop Apps". Techcrunch. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  20. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  21. ^ "Update: Bitcasa bursts its bubble". A Wild Duck. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  22. ^ "Bitcasa's Blunder". Cloud Storage Buzz. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  23. ^ "Adrian Rowbotham". Twitter. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  24. ^ http://forums.bitcasa.com/index.php?/topic/612-grandfather-plans-can-we-get-a-guarantee/?p=4134
  25. ^ "http://web.archive.org/web/20131203030002/http://blog.bitcasa.com/2013/11/19/our-new-pricing-and-the-evolution-of-bitcasa/"
  26. ^ a b c "Important: We are Upgrading Storage Infrastructure and Need You to Take Action - The Bitcasa Blog". bitcasa.com. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  27. ^ "Personal Drive - The Bitcasa Cloud Storage Platform". bitcasa.com. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  28. ^ http://forums.bitcasa.com/index.php?/topic/1950-downloading-everything-impossible-in-given-timeframe/?p=14453
  29. ^ http://forums.bitcasa.com/index.php?/topic/2366-how-do-i-finally-get-rid-of-this-bs-cant-delete-my-account/
  30. ^ http://forums.bitcasa.com/index.php?/topic/2336-cannot-delete-account-please-read-kyle/
  31. ^ http://forums.bitcasa.com/index.php?/topic/2094-cant-cancel-my-account/
  32. ^ "ORDER GRANTING TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND SETTING HEARING re 3 Ex Parte Motion for Temporary Restraining Order for Romack v. Bitcasa, Inc :: Justia Dockets & Filings". Justia Dockets & Filings. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  33. ^ DEFENDANT BITCASA, INC.'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
  34. ^ New Email "Extended to Nov 20th"
  35. ^ http://ia601407.us.archive.org/28/items/gov.uscourts.cand.282162/gov.uscourts.cand.282162.17.0.pdf
  36. ^ "Bitcasa Personal Drive Help Center". bitcasa.com. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  37. ^ "Bitcasa 60-Day Free Trial FAQ". bitcasa.com. Retrieved 7 April 2016. 
  38. ^ "Bitcasa Drive Being Discontinued on May 20, 2016". bitcasa.com. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 

External links[edit]