I-Drive Spruces Up Web Storage

Web-based storage is great to, well, store stuff.

But if you're looking for more than just a virtual disk drive, consider I-drive.com, recently enhanced with tools to use the stuff you've stored there.

In addition to storage space, you get your own activity center, where you can put your I-drive files to use. I-drive 2.0, just released, counts creating and sharing photo albums among the activities you can do there. On Wednesday, the company adds the capability to build MP3 playlists that you can stream directly from the I-drive without having to download them onto your PC.

"If you're putting something in your I-drive, we'll help you find something more interesting to do with it," says Jeff Bonforte, chief executive officer of I-drive.

I-drive lets you upload files--as many as 15 files at once--from your desktop or floppy disk quickly and easily. Uploaded content is limited to 50MB, but I-drive places no space limits on what you collect from the Web.

My Attempt to Filo the Web

A downloadable tool called Filo helps you collect Web-based content. Filo was easy to download and install, although I had difficulty getting it to work.

With Filo, you can visit any Web site, right-click on the page, and get a pop-up menu that lets you save the page on your I-drive with one click. You can also bookmark that page, or clip and save the entire page. This is particularly handy for a site that is subject to disappearing (such as a purchase receipt).

The pages are saved in a Filo folder on your I-drive.

If you search the Web for files to download, I-drive can save you time. Using Filo, you simply right-click on the download link and select "save target to I-drive." The file is copied to your I-drive, not downloaded.

I tested this on an MP3 file. Downloading it to my desktop took more than three minutes, but it took only a few seconds to transfer it to my I-drive using Filo.

I-drive also offers this technology on several partner sites. For example, at Scour.net, you can either download a music file or you can "sideload" the file using I-drive. You simply click the "sideload" link next to the download link, and the file copies directly to your I-drive.

Your Very Own Playlist

But you still have to download these files to your PC to use them, right? Well, not all the time. I-drive is launching a playlist feature that lets you collect MP3 files, arrange them in playlists, and stream them right from your I-drive.

You can upload MP3 files from your desktop to your I-drive to include them in the playlist.

I-drive's new photo album feature also lets you breathe life into your stored content. You can arrange your photos in an album that works just like a virtual slide show. You can even send it to friends and family through e-mail or transfer it directly to their I-drives.

"Plain old Web storage just isn't that exciting," says Ron Hirson, I-drive's senior director of products. After you visit I-drive, you'll see an alternative.

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