Big changes at ADN today. Basically they are moving to become more of a DropBox like competitor by giving all users 10G of storage. The best overview is at ReadWrite (yeah, I know — but it’s actually a good writeup) An other good one is at The Verge. Now unlike DropBox which has applications all ready this is just the backend. Client developers will have to write software to make use of it. I suspect that’ll take a month or so. Already some have added a photo service to ADN so you can post photos to your posts and they will be stored in your 10G of storage. I suspect there will be quite a few clever uses of the API over the next few months.
Several I came up with are a shared 1Password store. Right now I use 1Password via Dropbox to store my files. It’s synced between all my iOS devices and OSX. By using ADN you might have your private store that would work the same way, only using ADN instead of Dropbox. However you could then have a shared store for passwords you share with others. Say bank accounts you share with your wife. You wouldn’t want to share the same password store since you and your wife have different passwords. But you’d like some stuff shared. ADN could do that and even have an encrypted message stream for comments. So you could exchange encrypted comments about changing the password or doing other maintenance on your account. I have no idea if they will do this but I know at least one employee who is on ADN is going to talk about it with the rest of the staff. I think it’d be a great feature myself. Dealing with shared passwords that one person might change is a big pain right now.
An other creative use of the storage is to let clients have extended rich text posts. So you could do a standard 255 character plain text ADN post or you could have a longer post with rich text and graphics. The data would be on your store but clients would automatically display the post or at least a link to it. You could have not just photos, as the Alpha web app does starting today, but also voice messages, music clips, video and a lot else. Different clients could display the data in different ways. It really gives quite a bit of flexibility. You could even have full attachments with word or excel documents without having to upload the files separately to a store like drop box. You just add them to your message much like you do with an email message and people could access them easily.
Personally I think this is pretty big. I suspect we’ll see more Dropbox or Google Drive software coming as well. The real value comes from the integration of the messaging service with the storage in the form of standardized attachments. It gives ADN more of the flexibility that email has.
The downside is that a lot depends upon developers getting these features integrated. However most developers talking about it on ADN seemed truly excited. I suspect we’ll see some creative use of these features to do some things that I’ve not even thought of. Right now though what we have is potential. To see what functionality subscribers actually have will depend upon the developers themselves. That said the really big implication is that ADN could have a two tiered system. This would be akin to Evernote or other services that have a free service and then a more extensive paid service. Ideally this would let messaging be free increasing the momentum of ADN which right now has only a few tens of thousands of users. Before they can switch to a two tier business model the clients have to get the features in place. That’s a bit of a chicken and egg issue. But at least now there’s a reason for developers to believe they can sell enough copies to make it cost effective.