My digital life is a mess and I’m not afraid to admit it. I have videos on a few sites and photos on a few others. I’ve got numerous hard disks with photos and I am not 100% sure they are all synced with the online vendor I use – actually I am pretty sure they aren’t synced.
I am currently not backing up to the cloud but selectively back up important folders and documents. Then there are important websites and voicemails which I would love to keep an eye on for all eternity – but where to store them? Should I put links in a Word file? Excel? Then what happens if I lose that?
And then how do I search for the Word file – does it live in the cloud? On a netbook? A tablet?
Enter Gogobeans – a company whose mission it is to manage your digital life in a simplified way. A cloud-based vendor, the company also has core competence in the IP communications space with execs who once worked at Clarus Systems and Quintum.
They provide a free service to everyone who wants to organize their data – as they say, forever. Users receive their own locker and can choose how they share information – if at all. Each asset which can be a photo, web page, voicemail or just about anything else becomes what the company calls a BEAN which stands for Business Enabled Authorized Network Services. But for a user, all they need to know is each item can have searchable metatags applied to them like “brian’s wedding”and can be marked private, friends, members (for anyone who has a Gogobeans account) or public.
The company is actively trying to get people to understand that if you share information with a social network site you are likely relinquishing your rights to content meaning you may never be able to fully delete it. They say however that if you were to first upload your content to Gogobeans and then share it on Facebook, you could always mark it as private later and it will not be accessible.
Of course someone could make a copy but you get the idea.
The service is in the process of getting many new features allowing you to import your address book from virtually any popular source, drag-and-drop files, IM and more.
One of the pricing models is to charge users for uploading large files and/or more storage. They hope to partner with VoIP vendors to white label the service to their customers. This is a logical idea as if you look at what Cbeyond has done… They went from providing broadband and VoIP to backup and marketing services.
How to add a website as a BEAN. Here is the permalink for this BEAN online.
I had a long talk with Robert Hayden the COO and Dave Gombos, the VP of Business Development and I got the sense that new feature after feature would be coming out, including apps allowing native upload from mobile devices. The site is already optimized for non-smartphones via a WAP interface. Moreover, they expect the future ability to do things like uploading receipts for eventual syncing with expense management solutions.
The obvious question is will this company become the major player in the space of electronic asset management which people seem to so desperately need.
The answer is, possibly. I sense the service will become more and more useful over time and help users manage their increasingly complex digital lives. But on the other hand, some of the benefits the company touts can be achieved using bookmarks and a syncing tool like Firefox Home which allows your bookmarks to stay the same on all your browsers.
But with such a solution, you can’t manage the privacy of your information very well and searching for files will still be a huge and royal pain in the rear.
So as a free service, there is a lot of potential if users are made to understand the benefits.
Moreover, as TMC reported last month, the company has recently announced Chance Telecom is signed up as a customer, allowing it to offer digital lockers powered by Gogobeans to their customers. Will this be the start of a trend? We’ll see if other carriers join on as well – as I sense this is company’s fastest path to growth.