Punch WebGroups go multimedia

Punch Networks Corp. is adding Java-based MP3 playback to its Punch WebGroups Web storage and sharing application, while touting the new feature as a copyright-friendly answer to Napster-style file sharing.

Also added to Punch WebGroups 4.0 are slide show and synchronization capabilities. As with earlier versions, subscriptions start at US$99 annually for 100MB of storage space.

The basic idea of Punch WebGroups hasn't changed since the service debuted online in 1999. By storing files on Punch's server, you have access to them from any computer with an Internet connection. And so does anyone whom you have identified as a collaborator.

But according to Punch, that's where access stops. Punch Networks is "Quite likely the most secure place to put a file on the Internet," according to Dave Campbell, Punch Networks president.

Security and Sounds

The company sees security as one advantage of its new Punch Player, a major part of WebGroups 4.0. The Player is basically FreedomAudio's Java-based FreedomAudio Player integrated into WebGroups. It lets you upload and download MP3 files to and from the Internet "without the risk of illegal file-sharing that has torpedoed services like Napster," according to Punch. Only the people you let in will have access to your music collection.

The Player adds a light touch to a fundamentally business-oriented service. According to Campbell, subscribers are already storing MP3 files in their WebGroups for convenient access on other computers. The player simply makes playing these sounds easier.

But the convenience has its limits. For instance, the Player does not support playlists. You can play individual MP3 files or play all of the songs in a folder, sorted by name. Consequently, your Player might go from "I'll Be Seeing You" to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"-- not exactly an aesthetic choice.

Other New Functions

Another addition to 4.0 is a simple slide show program for viewing stored image files--a feature useful for both work and play. But once again, you can't control the order of the photos displayed without renaming the files.

Punch WebGroups' Public Document Access lets you publish documents so that everyone on the Internet has read-only access to them. Of course, a Web page does the same thing. According to Campbell, Public Document Access is primarily a convenience for publishing documents already up on WebGroups.

Finally, the WebDrive Synchronization Engine synchronizes the files of your choice between your local hard drive and the Punch server (and thus with other computers that you and your coworkers have access to). Punch plans to spin the engine out as a separate product while keeping it a part of WebGroups.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?