We’ve been around the block for a while, so we’re not easily surprised. Really. But very occasionally something pops up on the radar which rocks the shocks. The new Volafile service is one of those. Think of a combination of IRC, Chatroulette, Mega anonymous file sharing and throw a gratuitous MP3 radio station into the mix and you’re kind of close.
The concept is clean, simple and rather cool. The service lets anyone set up their own ‘room’, in which they can upload files. These files can be documents, images, video, music, in fact just about any type. The one key thing however, is those files will only exist on the service for 12 hours maximum before being deleted.
During that period, any visitor to the room can download the file, or if it is an MP3 also listen to it. And if any visitor clicks on the Radio button at the top of the screen, they’ll be able to listen to a stream of all the music tracks in the room.
All the files which are uploaded stream up the page in a river of movement, with the oldest files sliding down the page out of view over time, so at any time in a busy room the page will continuously be refreshed with new files coming on line for their allotted 12 hours. And as if that wasn’t enough, the left hand pane is a full blown chat window, which anyone can use to add comments, requests or just shoot the breeze IRC style.
The overall result in a busy room is an insane maelstrom of uploaded files. [WARNING: seriously NSFW content, do NOT click on any filename unless you are absolutely certain what it is. There’s a high likelihood of malware and Trojan content lurking in amongst the file stream].
The problem with this sort of open ended anonymous service is the fact that it will inevitably attract nasty, stupid, trolling types, who will do their best to deliver chaos. But…
…if you stay away from the crowded rooms and set up your own, then the whole thing becomes an incredibly interesting way to quietly share files with your friends and family on the fly, and with no complicated set up or installation required. The service will accept files up to 1 GB in size, and each file can be downloaded by any number of people during their lifespan.
Once the 12 hours is up, the files disappear completely with no record, no logs, no trace. The service is still being rolled out fully, with new features appearing regularly, but from our testing the implementation is extremely robust, and things like the search and category selection (click one of the file types at the top of the page to filter only those files) work very well.
Right now it’s a novelty, in rather the same way that Chatroulette was, so the service could either take off like a rocket or sink beneath the weight of total anarchy. There’s something valuable at the core of the idea though, so we’re hoping it will avoid the latter fate, and go on to become a safe, secure fixture on the internet scene.