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Online backup company Backblaze releases Android app, too

By letting Android users see files stored on their PCs, Backblaze takes another step toward sync services such as Dropbox.

Backblaze's Android app lets people view, download, and share files backd up from their PCs.
Backblaze's Android app lets people view, download, and share files backd up from their PCs. Backblaze

Backblaze, a provider of online backup services, has matched its iOS app for viewing archived files with an Android app, too.

The free Backblaze app for Android lets Backblaze customers view a directory of the files they've got stored at the service and, phone software permitting, use the files themselves by downloading a copy to the phone or tablet.

"Viewing a PDF, listening to an MP3, or previewing a Microsoft Word doc are all possible if you have capable apps," Backblaze said.

Backblaze's Android and iOS apps -- as well as online backup services such as Crashplan, Carbonite, Mozy, Spideroak, and Bitcasa -- reflect the gradual transformation of the Internet from something people access when needed into a fundamental aspect of how a computing device works. The Internet is far from ubiquitous, but it's fast and accessible enough now that the fundamental definition of a PC is changing. As illustrated by the 100 petabytes of data that Backblaze houses, your data isn't just stored on a hard drive anymore.

The company released its iOS app in 2013. Although Backblaze is chiefly for online backup of a personal computer -- the service costs $5 per month -- the mobile apps bring it closer to file-sync services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft's OneDrive.

"Many of our customers (including me) use Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud. These services provide great functionality for some of your files. None of these services have all of the files from your computers and external drives, however," Backblaze CEO Gleb Budman said. "With Dropbox and other sync services, you pick and choose some files to put into the sync service, and then you can access that file. If you're somewhere with your phone and you need a file from your computer or external drive that you didn't know you needed ahead of time, you can still get it from Backblaze."

There are some limits. You can only view files less than 30MB, and the app runs only on Android 4.03 Ice Cream Sandwich or later. And it doesn't back up data on Android devices themselves.