Cloud services are going to be flooding in in the next couple of years, and for good reason. The prospect of freeing up local hard drive space and backing up sensitive data (like our precious music collections) by using external, secure servers, is a pretty exciting one. NewBay certainly isn’t the first player on the scene (see: Dropbox), but their LifeCache Digital Vault sounds like the most functional and useful, by far.
Off-site server storage is nothing new. What is new with LifeCache is the ability to stream music and access documents from any device you own (that’s including any connected computer, mobile phone, tablet, or television). Apparently, uploading music straight from iTunes is possible, as well, though I’m curious to find out exactly how this works, given that iTunes still has the ghost of DRM past hanging over its head.
One pretty cool feature that I know myself and any other file organization freaks (I prefer aficionados) will love is LifeCache’s intelligent organization system. This is done through metadata analysis, though, so you still need to make sure that’s cleaned up, or LifeCache isn’t going to help you much. For those that are uploading all their iTunes files, though, this auto-organization should make streaming from other devices a neat and simple experience.
Storing metadata also means you’ll probably be receiving a nice, personalized ad blitz when you use the service, too. Music and video will be recommended to you based on your tastes, and NewBay promises to include one-click purchasing for these offers. It’s not all bad if you’re looking for new content, but privacy and anti-advertising enthusiasts might feel a bit hesitant to embrace that part of the service.
Of course, this isn’t all about music. Photos, videos and documents can be uploaded as well, allowing users to edit their files and create custom slideshows using all of their media, which can be shared with friends or on Facebook. The word subscription was dropped in the announcement, so don’t expect the service to be free, though it is possible there will be free services in addition to paid premium services. NewBay’s LifeCache Digital Vault is certainly intriguing, though; the ability to instantly sync and share files between all of your devices through the cloud is tantalizing, to say the least.