With the advent of email, it seemed the problem of exchanging files had finally been solved. No more need for snail mail or even couriers for urgent deliveries – it couldn’t be simpler than to create an email, attach the file you want to send, and hit ‘send’. Photos, music, videos, documents – all can be sent by email, quickly and easily.
But even with modern broadband speeds, sending files by email can still have one big problem – there is often a limit on the file size you can attach. This can mean that videos, CD-quality tracks and high resolution photos are ruled out, or are just painful to send.
Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent the limitations of email service providers while retaining the convenience and immediacy of email. Here is a brief look at three ways to send large documents and files online.
1. Given that there are limits on the size of attachments, you’d think emails would be ruled out as an effective transfer method. But our first method of exchange for large files involves your regular email browser and a protocol called email to fax. Let’s say you have a PDF of a 150-page report that includes images. It weighs in at 50MB – way past the limit imposed by your email provider. You need to send it to a client immediately, and they are demanding you fax it to their office machine since they want a hard copy. How is it possible?
The solution lies in using mBox. mBox can provide you with a virtual fax number, which turns your existing email browser into a virtual fax machine. Start by creating a new email and address it to the recipient’s fax number, followed by @efaxsend.com. Essentially, you’re creating an email. Then you attach the 50MB report (in PDF, TIFF or EFX format) and press send. You can send large files online (up to 1GB) because mBox is using the internet, not your email account. The fax arrives at the other end just as if it were sent from a regular fax machine. Incoming faxes appear as attachments in your email inbox.
2. Although there are a number of large file exchange interfaces including Hightail and Google Drive, possibly the most popular is Dropbox. Using cloud storage, Dropbox claims over 300,000 third-party apps use it to share files online. The size of the file(s) you can exchange depends on the subscription you have. If you have a 2GB subscription, you can send one 2GB file or a number of files to that value. Various users can subscribe to the same Dropbox with permission from the folder manager.
3. Google Drive is an alternative to Dropbox, although neither has the ease of use of an email-based system. Although Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage space, its interface is clunky compared with Dropbox, especially since it uses icons to represent various file types that are not universally recognisable. Another issue is its lack of differentiation from well-established competitors like Hightail and Dropbox. Being able to “See your stuff anywhere”, as its slogan puts it, is now a commonplace. Although Google Drive will appeal to the dedicated Google convert, its appeal could remain limited.
Email is still the leading ‘file transfer’ protocol, despite its limitations. And when you use a service like mBox that does away with those limitations, it makes even more sense to use it to send large files and documents online. After all, email is the one piece of software that every office computer has, it’s the one program even your Nana can work!