Box has announced the acquisition of Streem, a Y-Combinator startup that had raised $875,000 to build — in essence — a streaming file system. StreemFS allows users to maintain large files in the cloud, but to stream them on demand to users’ devices using advanced compression technologies.
This is obviously a big deal for large files of the sort involved with video, or applications like engineering, architecture, or financial services.
Aaron Levie, the CEO of Box said about the rollout of Streem technology in Box’s offering:
While no specific timeline is set for when you’ll see Streem’s various technologies incorporated into Box, we’re excited to work with the team to rapidly make this happen.
This is a really smart alternative to the file sync default, which can consume the user’s hard drive.
I use the Pack Rat option on Dropbox, where I can stipulate that some folders shouldn’t be synced on my hard drive, and that deleted files on my had drive should be retained in the cloud. However, it requires constant tuning, and the experience is confusing, since I know I have files in the cloud that don’t appear on my hard drive.
The Streem approach is inherently better, cognitively. Imagine that all files of certain types, or over some threshold of size are maintained in the cloud and only streamed on demand. That would mean I wouldn’t have to do much of anything, but I would be minimizing files on my hard drive. And of course, it would allow me to manipulate files that are perhaps too large to fit on my hard drive at all.
This is just the latest in the acquisition madness in the file sync-and-share marketplace. Yesterday I wrote about two acquisitions at Dropbox made in the last few weeks (see Dropbox acquires MobileSpan and Droptalk: It’s going to be a busy year).