The race to the cloud just heated up today: Cloud Engines, most known for their white, instant-server-in-a-brick Pogoplug network-attached storage device, launches two software-only versions that turn your Mac into a home-based server.
The software is a free download that installs on your Mac and basically turns it into Pogoplug, allowing you to access photos and documents, and stream music and videos stored on that Mac to any computer (via the Pogoplug web interface) or iDevice (via Pogoplug’s free iOS app) over your local network. If you want to stream, access or share stuff over the Internet, you’ll need to purchase the $29 upgrade. The license will allow you to install the software on as many computers as you like though, and even on *cough* Windows machines.
Cloud Engines launched the first Pogoplug in early 2009 and has since updated the hardware several times, most recently launching a powerful video-streaming capable Pogoplug in April. But this is a big step for the company, because it conspiciously lacked a sofware-only product like Tonido, Air Video or the now-defunct ZumoCast.
There’s also a new viewing option in the Pogoplug web interface called One View that consolidates multiple copies of the media file — say you’ve got files of the exact same song or movie spread across several different machines — into one.
We had a chance to play around a little with the new software, with its over-the-Internet $29 upgrade; it functioned, but streaming music and video seemed a bit slow and wonky over the ‘net; hopefully they’re still working out the kinks. Pogoplug users should also notice that the Pogoplug web interface received a minor facelift.