Review: Mega sharing service lacks versatility

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All that space is perfect for super-large files _ say, a feature-length movie. Of course, I don’t condone piracy, and Mega says it doesn’t, either. Its terms of service prohibit you from using Mega for copyright infringement. If you do, according to Mega, it’s you who will be liable, not Mega. Mega says it will remove links to unauthorized files brought to its attention.

That was Dotcom’s position, too, when he presided over the now-shuttered Megaupload service. It had been one of the most popular sites on the Internet until last January, when U.S. prosecutors shut it down and accused him and several company officials of facilitating millions of illegal downloads. U.S. authorities are trying to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand, where he is free on bail. Mega’s launch Sunday came on the one-year anniversary of the arrest of Dotcom and the raid on his home.

What makes Mega different from Megaupload is encryption. Mega says it can’t see what’s in the files being shared, and thus it cannot be held liable.

In addition, Megaupload deactivated files on free accounts unless someone downloaded that file at least once every 90 days. According to the government’s indictment of Dotcom and related parties, that made Megaupload useless for long-term personal storage of legitimate files, as only pirated materials with frequent downloads tended to avoid deactivation. Mega doesn’t appear to have a similar expiration, though the company didn’t respond to email requests to clarify that and several other points.

One thing is similar: Like Megaupload, Mega allows you to upload files without an account. That means you don’t have to share your email with Mega, though it’s possible the service will have your computer’s numeric Internet Protocol address if you’re not using an IP-masking service like Tor for anonymity. If you upload a file this way, you can create a link that you can give to others to download your file. This is something not available with Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive.

Still, that’s not enough to overcome Mega’s shortcomings. Mega’s sharing options aren’t as versatile. The service doesn’t even let you change a compromised password or reset one you’ve forgotten. Once again, Mega says that’s coming. I also had trouble signing up with Hotmail accounts. Emails that Mega sent to verify accounts didn’t go through. I even checked the spam folder.

Mega is useful for sharing large files that won’t fit on a free Dropbox, Google Drive or SkyDrive account. That can be one that exceeds Google’s 10 GB limit or SkyDrive’s 2 GB cap for a single file, or that can involve several that collectively exceed your free space. (Google’s single-file limit, by the way, is already double what you get for free.)

For routine use, Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive are all more versatile and easier to use.

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Anick Jesdanun, deputy technology editor for The Associated Press, can be reached at njesdanun(at)ap.org.

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Online:

Mega: https://mega.co.nz

Dropbox: http://dropbox.com

Google Drive: http://drive.google.com

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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