Secure ZipYou can post  a video to YouTube for private or wide audience viewing, but there’s a ten-minute limit. There are free programs, such as SecureZip from securezip.com  that let you compress and encrypt a file with just a couple of mouse clicks. That’s nice for sending it through email, but not convenient for a large group.

There’s a free and easy solution available from a new service called Drop.io. The “io” suffice stands for Indian Ocean. (Who knew?)  The “drop” in the name is to indicate how easy it is to use: You simply drop your file into its digital ocean.  Drop.io will store your video, audio, text or Drop.Iophoto files for free if they’re less than 100 megabytes, or you can have a whole gigabyte for $10 a year. All postings are dropped from the site after one year, unless you renew. Or, you can set a termination point, such as one week later, after which the file will be deleted.

No one has to register to use the site. You can start storing files immediately just by giving your site a name. Listening to files is an unusual feature here. You can use the site to create a kind of digital broadcast. Just go there and click on “phone” to get a special number to record your voice, which is then converted to an MP3 file. You can record a message, a lecture, a song, anything audio, and it can be called up again  on the Web.

You can drop files into the drop.io ocean by email, fax, text message or phone call. You can have an unlimited number of drop sites.  A single drop.io page can have a hundred files as long as they’re each no more than one megabyte. Or, if you want, every time you call or send a message, you can have a different drop file location. (We don’t know how they keep up with this, but it has worked for us so far.) The files that are dropped in can also be sent out. Anyone who has a link to the file can download it to their computer or to disk.

Like many other online storage sites, you get a special web address for your files, and that address can be password protected. (Even without a password, Google won’t find it. A drop.io file is only known to those who have the link.) You can give different people limited access to the files, and even give some people editing privileges. This seems like a lot of power for free, so the cost must be covered by the custom work they do for companies.

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