Norton Online Backup 2.0 hits the Web

Updated version comes with new features such as support for Mac and Windows, 90-day file versioning, and the ability to send file download links via e-mail.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post running down the best places to store your files online . Of the six that I covered, two have since closed up shop and one has changed its name.

It's a constantly changing space. Since then, we have seen a lot of new entrants into the online file storage and backup game. Norton Online Backup is a fairly new product that is getting a very strong upgrade Wednesday with version 2.0 of its product. The new version includes support for Mac and Windows, 90-day file versioning, and the ability to send file download links via e-mail.

Norton Online Backup's home page allows the user to see the status of every machine on their account. Screenshot by Harrison Hoffman/CNET

Norton has put together a very solid offering with version 2.0 of Norton Online Backup. It is introducing support for Intel-based Mac for the first time with this release. This is huge, especially when the company is trying to offer a solution for the whole household. Where most other online storage or backup services focus on serving one user, Norton has placed the focus on protecting the whole family or household. When you buy a year of the service, you are allowed to manage and back up up to five computers on your account. Jeff Kyle, a group product manager for the product, said that support for Ubuntu should be coming around March.

File versioning is a welcome addition to Norton Online Backup. This allows you to see previous versions of backed-up files for up to 90 days. This means that if you accidentally make changes that you don't want anymore, then you can just go back to the previous version. This is similar to the functionality that Apple offers with Time Machine.

Additionally, Norton Online Backup 2.0 allows you to send files via e-mails. You can select multiple files to be sent, and they will be presented to the recipient on an easy-to-use landing page. You can even password protect these files or control how long they are available for download.

Norton Online Backup's landing page for files sent via e-mail. Screenshot by Harrison Hoffman/CNET

My current solution for file storage and backup is Live Mesh, which continually monitors your machine for changes in backed-up files and automatically uploads them. While this feature is great, it can sometimes result in your machine slowing down since the application tends to use a lot of resources. Norton Online Backup's client is fairly lightweight and works on a scheduled backup system, which means that it checks for changes in your backed-up files at a designated time and does everything at once. This results in less overhead for your system.

Other, more minor features included in this release are open file backup, which backs up a file even if it is in use on your computer, file purging, and a simplified set-up/user interface.

Norton Online Backup has a 30-day trial and the full version costs $50 for one year, which gives you 25GB of storage and allows up to five computers on your account.


This is what the recipient see when you send them a file via e-mail. Screenshot by Harrison Hoffman/CNET
About the author

    Harrison Hoffman is a tech enthusiast and co-founder of LiveSide.net, a blog about Windows Live. The Web services report covers news, opinions, and analysis on Web-based software from Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and countless other companies in this rapidly expanding space. Hoffman currently attends the University of Miami, where he studies business and computer science. Disclosure.

     

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