The social file sharing and storage platform Wua.la is releasing a new web UI as well as an API for developers today. Users of the service can now make some or all of their files available on the web where others can view and download them without first installing the Wua.la client.

pic of wua.la web ui

Wua.la has been offering its users the ability to securely store and share files through a Java application ever since it launched its private beta test in late 2007. The service opened up to the public this summer and also released a web-based Java applet around the same time that made it possible to access files through Wua.la without first installing anything n your local system.

Users did however still have to run Wua.la in some form or another to access other peoples' files. The new web UI makes it finally possible to send links to your photos or videos stored in Wua.la to anyone without worrying that they won't be able to look at them because they don't know what to do. The web UI also offers access to public Wua.la groups, making it possible to browse files that have been aggregated by various Wua.la users.

It's an interesting move for Wua.la because it will definitely help the service to become more popular, but it's also a step a way from Wua.la's clever distributed storage system. Wua.la utilizes shared hard disk space of its users to save parts of files in the cloud in a redundant fashion, meaning that a file will still be accessible even if some users that provide backup space for it go offline.

The service has always used centralized servers as a secondary backup layer, but the new web UI will certainly put a lot more stress on those servers.

The same is probably true for the API, which will allow developers to integrate Wua.la into their own applications and web services. The API is read-only at this point, meaning that third-party developers will only be able to access contet on Wua.la's network, but not actually add to it.It also looks like the API is restricted to publicly shared files, which probably makes a lot of sense in order to keep private files secure.

Wua.la announced that it is now storing more than 30 million files. It will definitely be interesting to see how these will be utilized in mash-ups. I personally still think one of the most interesting aspects will be a more advanced integration with existing social networks like Facebook.

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