In the following descriptions, I deal mainly with the file-sharing features of each service. Computerworld has reviewed a few of these services separately, looking at their other tools more thoroughly; in that case, we've provided a link to the review.
Dedicated file-sharing services
While there are currently a variety of cloud storage services out there, they were preceded by dedicated file-sharing services, whose main purpose was to allow people to upload and download files that were too large to send via email. These services may be more focused, but they also tend to offer the chance to share larger files.
MediaFireClick to view larger image.
MediaFire is useful if you have lots of files you want to distribute, as long as they're under 200MB each. Uploads are scanned with the BitDefender antivirus engine; common document types can be previewed directly at MediaFire's site via a Flash-based previewer. Distribution includes sending file links to social media ( Facebook, Twitter) and emailing via contact lists from a variety of programs including Outlook, Plaxo, vCards and many more.
The MediaFire Express desktop application is currently in beta but shows a fair amount of thought. It provides a drag-and-drop target for quick uploading of files and folders; after uploading, a pop-up appears with a quick link to the uploaded files.
No limit Free account max file size: 200MB Paid account storage space: No limit Paid account max file size: 4GB ($9/month); 10GB ($49/month) File storage expiration: None as long as account is not inactive for more than 128 days Other paid options: Uploads do not expire for lack of activity; direct links to files without interstitial pages; removal of ads; custom domains and branding Time to upload 100MB file: 6 min. 30 sec. (includes BitDefender scan)
RapidShareClick to view larger image.
What RapidShare lacks in paid features it makes up for with few restrictions on its core product. The biggest limitations are on download bandwidth and file retention, not storage, so it's a handy way to quickly throw big files somewhere and distribute them to a broad audience on short notice.