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An interview with co-founder of cloud storage service Bitcasa

On this episode we are finding out more about the new cloud storage service recently launched here in the UK called Bitcasa. Tony Gauda is CEO and Co-Founder of Bitcasa and I started by asking him how the idea for Bitcasa came about and how it differs from other solutions on the market.

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What is the background to Bitcasa?

Bitcasa is actually a solution to a problem that I personally had a few years ago I was working for Mastercard designing a fraud prediction system which would take your credit card swipe and determine whether that was a fraudulent credit card transaction or not. Meanwhile, I bought a Macbook Air and I installed all my music and development tools on it and then promptly ran out of space on the device itself. The way that you solved that problem back then was to buy an external hard drive and you move your photos and music over to that actual hard drive or you get a USB stick and you carry the things around that are larger than your device. I thought that there had to be a simpler way to solve that problem and that was when Bitcasa was born. Bitcasa is the world’s first software hard drive so you install Bitcasa on your desktop and Bitcasa creates a virtual hard drive that is literally infinite and it never runs out of space you can move your documents, videos, photos even programme files over to your Bitcasa and they don’t take any space on your desktop and it just never runs out

How does it compare to existing services like Dropbox that people might be more aware of?

It is actually radically different. So, if you think about Dropbox when you install it on your desktop it doesn’t give you more space and this is typical of all the synchronization solutions that exist today. So you install them and what they do with them is they give you a special folder that copies the data from your desktop to the Cloud but it doesn’t move anything it and doesn’t add capacity to your desktop. So if you have a terabit of capacity on a hard drive, when you drag and drop that to your desktop into your syncronisation folder it will just run out of space on your desktop. That is not the case with Bitcasa because when you drag and drop into your Bitcasa drive it never runs out of space, your desktop never runs out of space you can access it all instantly from every single device that you own.

We are living in a multi device age of course, how does this allow you to access files on your desktop, laptop and Tablet etc?

It is exactly like having the storage that follows you every single place that you go so that when you get Bitcasa your phone is now infinite, your tablet is now infinite and every device that you own is too. We are also announcing a 2.0 version of IOS. All the photos and videos you copy to the Cloud can be accessed instantly, all the documents and every single file that I own that is on my desktop is now instantly accessible on my mobile phone, there are no limits, no quotas, there are no file size constraints it is just everything and its infinite.

Is this a useful tool for sharing as well?

Absolutely, over the weekend I took my daughter to the beach and I recorded several videos, took various photos and I wanted to share that with my mother. So instead of me picking and choosing just the videos and photos that I thought were small enough to send I just took the whole experience and sent my mother a link. She was instantly able to access everything; there is no more uploading no more figuring out if there is enough space in an email.

You are launching first of all with a consumer-focused product but are there any plans for business applications with customisable API’s?

There are some things that will be announced within the next few months and some of those will be API’s but today we are 100% focused on consumers and there are some small business plans that will be coming out as well.

What do you have in place to ensure privacy and security of users data and files?

That was one of the first things that we thought about when we built Bitcasa and invented this technology. We need to feel comfortable to copy all of our data to cloud so what we do with Bitcasa is we 100% guarantee your privacy by encrypting everything clients sign on the device. So even though I am the investor of the technology and I have complete access on our servers I cannot access any consumer data for any reason at all because it is 100% encrypted. Even if a third party intercepts everything, there is nothing they can do because it is all encrypted with the consumer’s credentials.

Is this useable across operating systems as well, can use this seamlessly across my Apple and Windows devices?

We are supported on multiple platforms including IOS, Mac, Android, Windows, Google Chrome, Firefox and every single platform that is popular Bitcasa supports. We can transform the contents of the device itself. Say for instance you have a video that you had recorded using your camcorder at home we will actually transform that video to fit on the device that you are watching it from. Also we can transform it so that it can support the format on the band that you are actually watching it on. It is just like a Netflix or a Spotify for everything you own.

Once your users have uploaded their files to Bitcasa, do they still own that completely and exclusively?

Absolutely, your files are always yours and it is the same level privacy that you have on your desktop it is actually a higher level of privacy than you have on your desktop because everything on your desktop is unencrypted. If you lose your desktop and whoever finds your desktop has access to everything that stays on that pc it is not the case with Bitcasa since everything is encrypted inside it is always protected and you are always safe and you are always own your own content.

Do you see this as a new way of backing up your devices?

People use it to never have to back up again. The way Bitcasa works is that as you are using your pc Bitcasa automatically if you chose for it to do so copies your data behind the scenes to Bitcasa for safe keeping so you will save something to your desktop and Bitcasa will automatically copy it to the cloud. There is nothing that you have to do it is automatic so backing up is now a thing of the past. It is something that happens as you use your pc.

You’re boasting infinite storage, is this really true and how have you managed to offer this?

It is absolutely infinite. A lot of times when you hear things like that you always wait for the catch. I am here to guarantee there is no catch it is infinite save as much as you want and we will keep it for you safe and secure and make it accessible across every single device that you own there is no file, size limitations, there is no device restrictions it is infinite.

A problem that you sometimes find when using services like this is when out and about if you start uploading a file and then the 3G connection drops out and the upload doesn’t complete, there is sometimes a risk of losing data how have you managed to get around that with Bitcasa?

Since day one we have been extremely careful with making sure that consumer data is always protected so we will never report back to the device that it is successfully saved unless it has been successfully saved so we do not take shortcuts we make sure that your data is always secure. You have a higher chance of deleting by accident than us losing your data.

Do you see this as the end of the requirement for big local storage on devices; maybe even the hard drive entirely?

This is absolutely the future people have been talking about this for the past 20 or 30 years. In the future we do see the network getting faster and faster We will shortly see the deployment of LPE networks which are lightening fast mobile devices, streaming is now the future most of the things we do now can be accessed like Netflix and other streaming services we see the same trend happening with your personal data where it is all saved in the Cloud and it all backed up, its encrypted its instantly accessible across every device that you own, you don’t have to worry about losing it the biggest concern you have is maybe instead of you taking your device out of your pocket you accidently throw it into the washing machine now what about all those photos you have on your mobile phone. In Bitcasa world that does not even matter because you are always backed up and you are always safe. The things you notice is that you really don’t care about the physical phone itself but you care the most about is the data that is on it so protected that.