June 2, 2006 5:31 AM PDT

Making 1GB downloads easier to swallow

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March 23, 2005
Pando Networks is going to try to make it easier for friends to send video to one other.

The start-up last week kicked off a public beta of its service, a peer-to-peer network that lets participants swap large files with one other through e-mail--without choking their computers. The files can be up to 1GB in size, can be sent to multiple participants at once, and can consist of music, video, pictures or other files.

Several hardware and software companies are currently working on ways to make video and photo swapping easier. Who will win the competition remains difficult to predict, but Pando at least can brag of a good number of early beta testers.

So far, about 650,000 people have downloaded the client and around one-third of them use it roughly twice or more a month, Pando CEO Robert Levitan said.

"Everyone has a problem with e-mail attachment limits," he said. "The question we're wrestling with is how often do you have it?"

Investors in the company, which formed in 2004, include Intel Capital and Wheatley Partners. The company has raised $11 million in two rounds of funding.

The company's chief has some Internet bubble scar tissue, which venture investors say can always help a start-up from getting too cocky. A founder of both iVillage and Flooz, Levitan saw his first two companies take off.

But by 2001, Flooz was stung by the economic meltdown and Russian scammers and had to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. He wound up the company on Sept. 10, 2001, and on his first day of unemployment, pedaling an exercise bike in the gym, he watched the Sept. 11 attacks unfold.

Pando's network functions in a similar fashion to other peer-to-peer networks, but with anonymity. When an individual wants to send a file, it goes through servers at Pando. The intended recipient then gets an e-mail notifying him or her that someone has sent a video file. While the first few recipients might download it directly from the central servers, subsequent users will receive the complete download in piecemeal from several sources, thereby speeding up the downloading process.

"The more people that have it (the file to be downloaded), the less time it takes to deliver it," Levitan said.

When the New York City-based company recently updated its own software, it sent out 10 copies but 100,000 people were able to upgrade their computers.

Unlike most peer-to-peer networks, however, there is no search function or file directory. Thus, if a person sends out a video of his family, it only goes to the intended recipients. Third parties won't know it is there, and thus can't randomly come across the video and create a cultural phenomenon by posting snarky comments about the family's looks and quirks. That would only happen if the intended recipients decided to post it publicly somewhere.

The company also can disable files that contain pirated copyright material and can kick off repeat offenders of piracy laws. The company doesn't actively look for potential piracy, but removes files when notified.

Ultimately, the service will go up against photo upload sites like Flickr. How will the company compete with the popularity of those sites? First, Levitan asserts, Pando lets the recipient get a full-resolution copy of the photo or video. Second, the network involves less labor.

"If I want to send you a folder of 400 photos, am I going to upload that?" he said.

The service is currently free and generates revenue through advertising. The company will later come out with premium services. Pando will also try to cut deals with film studios to deliver high-definition film trailers through the network for a fee.

"Right now," he said, "there is no way to stream HD movie trailers.?

See more CNET content tagged:
Flooz, Pando Networks, recipient, P2P, photograph

7 comments

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Don't most chat clients have this capability?
We routinely send large graphics files via iChat and our own Jabber
server. I thought most (all) chat clients had unlimited file transfer
ability.

The biggest problem we've found is most consumer ISPs (cable
modem types) are doing bandwidth shaping and will drop transfers
speeds to a trickle if we send 500MB+ files to one of their home
based customers. I'd think Pando users would likely run into the
same problem.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pando is painfully SLOWWWWWWW
They need to do something about the speed; Im behind a T-1 and it was too painfull to wait and see the 89 MB file take forever (I cancelled the download and moved it though my own FTP server)
Posted by Cage2121 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pando is painfully SLOWWWWWW
Please do something about the compression technology, or increase the bandwith on your Server's end.

Thank you
Posted by Cage2121 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The real problem is uplink bandwidth
The real problem is uplink bandwidth: sending a file out of an ADSL connection takes a long time.
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pando is sending fraudulent email
If I use Pando for sending files Pando will send an email to the recipient.

The problem is that Pando is using MY email address as MAIL FROM instead of an address belonging to Pando.

Today Sender Authentication like SPF, SenderID, DomainKeys and DKIM is used widely.

I have not given Pando permission to pretend sending email from my domain and I have clearly stated in my SPF record that such emails should be rejected.

What Pando is doing is email fraud and it will hurt his otherwise great idea. Just because the Pando CEO Robert Levitan did not bother to consult someone with who knows something about email.

I wonder what Pando CEO Robert Levitan would say if I called someone on phone claiming to be Pando CEO Robert Levitan. Because that is exactly what he is doing with email sent from his mail servers.

It is sad some people don't want to do some research before starting a project.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
RE: Pando is sending fraudulent email
Hi Arne,

I'm Yaron, Pando's co-founder.

Pando adheres to the industry standard method used by most web sites, including the one you're on right now, CNET, to email content between individuals. Click this article's "Email" button and send it to yourself to see what I mean. The article comes "from" you. This is done for several reason's which I would be happy to elaborate on.

Because we take our user's security and privacy so seriously we actually go a step further than most services and require senders to verify ownership of their email address before they can send anything with Pando. No one can send anything pretending to be you, without you first approving their registeration.

Many ESPs are indeed slowly moving to Sender Authentication so like other consumer services we will also be moving to sending emails "on behalf of" senders in the future.

Thanks for voicing your concern and for trying Pando! Your feedback is very important to us. Please feel free to email me at yaron@pando.com to discuss further.

-Yaron
www.pandoblog.com
Posted by ysamid (1 comment )
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