Andrew Michael, Livedrive CEO, told iTWire that the service is "very roughly like Windows Live Workspace, with more functionality plus backup plus online storage."
The Livedrive client sets up a new logical drive on the subscriber's PC and by default stores files both on that local drive and on the Livedrive servers. The user can switch to online-only storage on a whole-drive or individual file and folder basis.
In addition to synchronizing the local drive with the server, Livedrive will also sync the online storage with any other PC using the same account. It also permits file sharing with anyone, not just Livedrive users.
Where Livedrive departs from simple online storage and synchronization -- and where it gets into Live Workspace territory -- is in what it allows the subscriber to do with the online files. Through plugins, the user can edit the documents online; Livedrive supports Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents, OpenOffice documents, plain text, and JPEG images.
Especially nice is that Livedrive allows version control. The software maintains a history of the files uploaded to it, and the subscriber can revert to any previous version through the Web portal.
Users can also upload video or music files and stream them from the Livedrive servers, including to iPhones and BlackBerrys.
Livedrive does not yet offer scheduled backups -- files must be added to the local drive, at which point they are synchronized automatically. Scheduled backup "is on the roadmap," according to Michael, and in the meantime subscribers can achieve that functionality by using third-party backup software to save files to the local drive or upload files via FTP.
Livedrive subscriptions are US$55.95/year for 100 GB of space or $149.95 for unlimited storage. So far it is Windows only, but a Mac version should be out by the end of the year, and enhanced administration tools are planned for February, including scheduled backup.
New cloud collaboration and backup service comes to U.S.
UK-based Livedrive is launching its online storage and file sharing service in the U.S. The service provides automatic backup and syncing with version control, as well as the ability to edit online files via the browser.
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