I share a presentation on Gspace, an application that I own. So far I’ve been lending it to FON, which is using it to advertise and in exchange covers the cost of keeping Gspace up and running (around 100 euros per month).

Gspace is a Firefox extension that lets you store your files online at no cost (using your Gmail account), play music files and browse your pictures. More then 3 million people downloaded it in the last 3 years that´s a lot of people for something that promotes itself.

So what should I do to make it useful? These are the ideas I had:

– put advertising and make some money with it
– send traffic to websites charging for online storage (and get commissions on sales)
– integrate it with the Fonera 2.0 so that the Fonera can upload files from a hard drive, photocamera or MP3 player to Gspace.

Fon Labs has two other complementary products. The Gmail Uploader that allows you to send old emails to Gmail so you can search them, and Fon Backup which is a way to back up folder by folder in the cloud via email.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Robert Evans on October 29, 2008  · 

Find a similar product and sell yours to them. I’m sure the 3 mil users would be a nice addition for them.

Better yet, migrate your instalbase to a newer product that has greater financial rewards i.e. provides more value to the customer.

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Stefanos Nastis on October 29, 2008  · 

Here are my two cents on “cloud storage”. There are three features users want: reliability, ubiquity, and automation. You need something that is reliable, accessible from any device, and completely automated. I’ll propose some features for each area:
1. Reliability: The problem with Gspace is that you can end up without a functional email for a day, a great nuisance. I would suggest a bandwidth meter (a simple green/yellow/red daily usage light might do).
2. Ubiquity: This means abandoning the add-on to firefox and developing webpage access. You usually want a file/photo from Gspace when you are away from your own computer and it is annoying to ask someone to install an app on their computer — I know I don’t like that!
3. Automation: Cloud storage isn’t cloud storage unless it happens on its own. I want cloud storage for the instances when I need a file but hadn’t anticipated it. This probably means integrating it with Fon Backup, with the addition of deletions and file versioning.
For me, the best such service is Dropbox, at getdropbox.com. To my knowledge, no other service offers these features that, truth be told, resemble Time Machine on the Mac, and may soon be made partially obsolete if Apple decides to integrate Time Machine with iDisk.

However, Martin, I think you should stay focused on the Fonera. You have a truly revolutionary idea there. If Gspace has a purpose, it should be to sell more Foneras.

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Tobi on October 29, 2008  · 

Martin, I have been using Gspace for quite a while and found it useful. As my expectations regarding ease of use and synchronization became bigger, I “switched” to SugarSync where I have to pay.

It’s OK to pay for that as it exactly satisfies my needs. In my opinion, there are enough free online storage providers out there and I believe that as a stand-alone-product it has not enough power to penetrate against those others.

Therefore, I think you should integrate Gspace as an additional service to the FON software. This might be another smart service and functionality which could help to make the Fonera initiative even a little bit more successful.

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George Tuvell on October 29, 2008  · 

I like the concept of Gspace but agree that relying only on a firefox extension and the usability limitations that come with that is not the best approach long term. With the Backup, Uploader, and Gspace services you already have the components of a full “FON Cloud” storage service.

I suggest integrating Gspace with the Fontera 2.0 allowing users to backup and *sync automatically* media files from portable devices and local storage. Perhaps moving to automated doc syncing later (docsyncer made a run at this with syncing google docs to your computer). In the end, I would want all of my music, photos, videos, and important docs automatically backed up to the “Fon Cloud,” and anytime I hooked up my digital video camera, or digital camera, those files would be automatically uploaded, eliminating the pain of doing it myself to Youtube or Flickr (FYI Qik for mobiles has been successful because they eliminated the upload process of videos)

Imagine, as more portable devices come equipped with Wi-Fi, what if the devices could automatically upload the files when in range of the computer or any FON wi-fi hotspot? Completely eliminating the need to manually sync and always keeping your FON cloud up to date with your “stuff.”

I would also consider offering a premium **unlimited** version of the service for a small per GB fee (see Jungle Disk model) and build this additional storage on top of Amazon or another Utility Infrastructure provider like Rackspace. Basic users get the free service and FON is promoted, while heavier users pay the price but get the additional reliability of a multi-location storage infrastructure. It’s a “fremium” model like Flickr.

Some other thoughts…

-The interface needs to be cleaner and accessible via any browser (not just firefox add-on) **mobiles included. I’d like easy access from my iphone.

– Sharing – users need to be able to share their files with friends, family and the public. Would also consider integration to existing flickr and youtube accounts so users can see everything from one location .

– The contacts problem – Nobody has created a *painless* way to store contacts in the cloud and keep them in sync with any client (outlook, address book, mobile phone). Also, to my knowledge there are no storage services providing this either. Plaxo has tried, and there are other service that are painful to configure. With standard formats and OMA DM for mobile sync I don’t understand why this has not been solved yet. I have FOREVER wanted to be able to keep my master contacts DB in the cloud, and keep it in sync with my computer and mobile. I don’t like uploading to Gmail contacts and it’s unreliable anyways.

– The last point, consider building the service on top of many free storage services. There may be technical hurdles here, but the idea would be more storage space (not 2GB limit) for free, by taking advantage of all of the free services and accessing and interfacing them through the Gspace interface.

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Antoin O Lachtnain on October 29, 2008  · 

I think there are some good ideas up there. Me, I would set it up so that it could use amazon storage as well as/instead of gmail in order to allow greater capacity. It could also allow other storage facilities in future. You would charge something for this beyond 5 Gb and up to that amount, you would cover in advertising.

The main issue is what to do with data if people don’t access it for a long time.

There are other folk in this space and it is important to do something that is really different. The idea of integrating it so that it starts backing up your hard drive in the presence of a fonera sounds good to me.

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polac on October 29, 2008  · 

Sharing tools, that is the most powerful skill you have to improve. I agree with George Tuvell in all points.

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Vadimas on October 30, 2008  · 

Today at work I had an opportunity to help my colleague with email moving problems. I gave him the best advice I could figure out. And it was “use gmail uploader”. Glad to be in the right place and have a solution. That’s the way how the word of mouth spreads. 🙂

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Martin Varsavsky on October 30, 2008  · 

@ Vadimas:

thanks vadimas!

Elliott on November 15, 2008  · 

Gspace locked up [BTW, tech support has been unhelpful], so I thought I would reload from site gspace.com. Obviously, a mistake as this is blatant porno site w/ a url too similar to getgspace.

3.0 rating

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