Last week we announced Cubby, our latest product, and it was overwhelmingly well received. We will be starting an official Cubby blog soon, but until then Cubby-related content will cybersquat here on b.logme.in. In order to break the silence I thought I’d take a few minutes and explain what goals we had with creating the product and why we think it’s better than the competition.
Cubby is as simple or as flexible as you want it to be. It’s designed to suit your style, not some arbitrary requirements of the software. Simply put, it works the way you work, not the way we want you to.
You start off with a single cubby. You put stuff into it and it appears on all your devices as well as in the cloud at cubby.com. If that works for you and you don’t need more complexity, that’s fine. You can also create one or more new cubbies and select where their contents appear. With Cubby, you gain fine control over what goes where. For example, you can have your work docs on your office desktop and laptop, your photos on your laptop and your home computer, and so on. Cloud syncing is optional, so you can set a cubby to sync peer-to-peer between your computers when you don’t need web-based or mobile access to a cubby. With peer-to-peer syncing, cubby content doesn’t count against your cloud storage quota.
Cubby is versatile. To share files with somebody, simply send them an URL that provides read-only access a particular file or folder in one of your cubbies. To collaborate with someone, simply invite them to share a cubby with you, and then that particular cubby will update its contents on the devices of your choice as well as the devices of their choice in real time as changes are made.
Cubby is a safety net. For cubbies that sync with cubby.com, we retain deleted files and previous versions of stuff you overwrite. This is automatic and doesn’t count against your quota; it simply uses whatever free space you have with us on cubby.com. If you start to run out of unused space, the oldest versions of your files are eventually thrown away, but you can easily check how your storage is used and how much space you have for storing old files.
Cubby is secure. Every cubby has its own encryption key that’s further encrypted by your password. When you log in to cubby.com and choose high security mode we use your password to temporarily decrypt your cubby keys so we can show you what you store with us, but when you’re not accessing the website we simply don’t have your encryption keys in a usable form. Your computers with Cubby installed do have a copy of these keys so they’re able to sync information back and forth without your intervention. The only downside to high security mode is that if you forget your cubby.com password and have to reset it without the recovery key that we give you when high security mode is enabled, you lose access to the stuff that’s in cloud storage. Granted, it will re-sync from your computers as soon as they’re online but still, it’s a hassle so this mode will not be enabled by default.
NOTE: While the underlying high security functionality has been implemented (including per-cubby encryption keys) the high security mode will only be publicly available some time later in the beta.
Cubby is smart. It’s powerful and it’s certainly very easy to use, and under the hood there’s a lot of innovation. One of the coolest things is how your computers running Cubby communicate with each other: every computer is assigned an identifier, part of which is the computer’s public IP address. These identifiers are first sorted and then made to form the points around a simple circle graph. Computers will only connect to their immediate neighbor in the graph, and information will flow only between a particular computer and its two neighbors. Why should you or your ISP care about this? Well, this minimizes Internet traffic and makes Cubby replicate files very quickly. Computers on the same network will have the same public IP address which means they will be neighbors on the graph, talking with each other on the LAN without having to involve your ISP. Computers on the same ISP are likely to have similar IP addresses , so they will be neighbors in the Cubby graph, thereby minimizing inter-ISP traffic; again, making things smoother and faster.
We built Cubby from the ground up because we wanted to create a better experience that’s flexible, secure and super easy to use. The underlying technology took us a long time to develop but, we think it’s been worth it. Hope you’ll agree.
You can apply on the Cubby website to be part of the closed beta and chances are you won’t have to wait very long. While the line isn’t short by any standards we are letting in thousands of new users every day.
-Marton Anka (CTO, LogMeIn)