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Let's Crate hands-on: simple drag-and-drop file sharing, but lacking important features

File sharing tools are all the rage. Ranging from the sync-oriented SugarSync, to the excellent workhorse of YouSendIt, and the consummate simplicity of Imgur, you have just about every base covered. It's a concentrated market with a lot of competition, but startup Let's Crate thinks it has what it takes to elbow its way into the money.

Espousing the KISS principle, Let's Crate hopes that the simple addition of drag-and-drop functionality and one crappy Flash flourish is enough to pull users away from tried-and-tested services. Unfortunately, that isn't the case: Let's Crate simply doesn't bring enough to the table.


Drag-and-drop

For a start, its unique selling point isn't unique: Imgur already lets you drop-and-drop to upload images, and there are Chrome and Firefox add-ons that add drag-and-drop functionality to sites that don't inherently support it.

I'm not sold on the idea of dragging and dropping items into the browser, anyway. Unless you use two displays or you browse with an unmaximized browser window, I just don't see the advantage over the customary File Upload dialog. Not to mention the Windows 7 and Mac OS X 'Recent Places' folders make locating files trivial.

If that wasn't bad enough, Let's Crate doesn't even let you upload using the conventional File Upload dialog! You must drag-and-drop, whether you like it or not.

It looks pretty

The one good thing about sites that do just one thing is that they tend to be rather pretty. In Let's Crate's case, a minimalist design and good use of earthy, woody colors definitely combine to create (get it?) an attractive site. In true Web 2.0 style, there are rounded corners everywhere -- but at the same time, there's a fantastic lack of alllowercaseunpunctuatedsentences; bonus points for that, Let's Crate.

I have to admit, too, that getting unregistered users to drag a file onto the crate is a brilliant idea. Unfortunately, once you register, you only get the aforementioned bland, minimalist interface with a rather dull "Drag and drop your files here" drop zone. If you're listening, Let's Crate: give registered users the crate! It's much cooler.

Crappy Flash flourish

Once you've uploaded a file, it's simply a matter of clicking that file to copy a short URL link to your clipboard. Sadly, this little feature relies on Flash -- and if you don't have Flash, there's no easy way of copying the link.

Incidentally, these links point directly to the file, so you could quite happily use Let's Crate as a file dump. You can also link people to your 'crates' (folders) -- but there doesn't seem to be any way to configure access permissions -- so if you give someone a crate link they will always have access to that crate.


In conclusion

With excellent options for image sharing (Imgur, Flickr, Minus), the only real application I can see for Let's Crate is as some kind of temporary file dump for music, videos and other binary files. Even then, I'm not quite sure why you would use Let's Crate over SugarSync or Dropbox -- both are free, and both provide a lot more storage than Let's Crate, which only gives you 200MB of space for free. It costs $9/month if you want 2GB of Crate space, incidentally.

Tags: apps, drag and drop, drag-and-drop, DragAndDrop, file sharing, FileSharing, imgur, lets crate, LetsCrate, send files, SendFiles, sharing, utilities, web, yousendit

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