Take Your Storage Online


Though still in beta, Omnidrive is an online storage service that has a lot of promise. It is, however, a service with a number of rough edges. Uploading a file through the online interface was strange, and disconnected throughout our test period. The advanced uploader repeatedly failed to load during testing, using WinXP SP2 fully patched, and the latest versions of Java, IE7 and Firefox 2.x. The basic uploader was confusing in that you choose a file, then it looks like it's in an upload queue - without any kind of status updating - but you're just left to wonder if the file was actually loaded or if it ever will be. Uploading a file really should be a basic, simple affair, and with this service that wasn't the case when using the pure online interface.

The client desktop application is another story, though. It installed without any fuss, and we were able to drag and drop files to the remote Omnidrive storage with ease. The application also maps Omnidrive to your PC, so it's easily accessible.

In testing, it became apparent that the online interface does not quickly update on its own to reflect the latest uploads from the local client application. In almost every case, we had to refresh (how quaint) the Omnidrive web interface, in order to actually know that a new file had been uploaded via the client mechanism. In a few test cases, even after refreshing, there was a discrepancy for as long as five minutes between what the local client showed was on Omnidrive and what the online interface reported as being on Omnidrive.

Though Omnidrive could be used as a backup solution, that is not its true calling. Neither the web nor the client interface have any real backup features. Omnidrive is essentially an online storage and file sharing application, though it does provide a few nifty features once you do get your files online. One such feature is the ability to actually edit files online: Omnidrive has included integration with a company called Zoho that enables Word and Excel documents to be opened and edited online. For audio files, Omnidrive has a built-in music player.

Omnidrive allows users to easily share their files online: there are two ways of doing so, which end up accomplishing the same thing. First, you can click the 'share' action, which will enable you to send an email containing a link to a recipient. Thankfully, the recipient need not be an Omnidrive user as well to actually download the file. Second, you can 'publish' the file, which provides the same link and then lets you copy the link and pass it around. The publish feature is a little weak in that when you actually publish the file, you don't get any easy indicator of status. The only way to know if the file has been published or shared is to right click and select properties.

Omnidrive is currently labeled as a beta product, and it's likely for a good reason. Though there is lots of promise in the Web 2.0 type integration possibilities of Omnidrive, it's missing the fit and finish that a commercial product really must have.

  • nicd
    Comparison/Feature chart error: This is intended for the article author editor.

    First, part of it is blocked since it's very wide and the ads block some of the info.

    I think you have an incorrect entry in the Carbonite Lite column of the Feature Chart (most people probably aren't seeing this info though). It shows "Zoho for Word, Excel files" in the editing row and an X in the Online Recovery option. I think you intended to have these entries under the Box.net column.

    Other than that I do want to say the overall article and information is some of the best I've found yet on the topic. Great work! Thanks.
  • jdg
    The ads make this review completely useless.
  • jthomas01
    Great point, I really like when you said: "It's also important to make sure that your backed up data is located somewhere other than where your primary data is" That's a very important aspect of online storage.

    I recommend also checking into services that offer backup for both Windows and Mac operating systems. SugarSync is a good example of this. To learn more about it, I recommend reading this comparison on Livedrive vs. MyPC Backup vs. SugarSync, it's very helpful in differentiating these 3 services.