Cloud store-and-sync service Box has snapped up Y Combinator-backed startup Streem for an undisclosed sum. Streem, as you may guess from the name, provides a streaming service that lets users access content from the cloud without taking up any space on the local hard drive -- especially handy when dealing with large video files.
"Streem has developed amazing technology that allows you to mount a cloud drive onto your computer — making documents, presentations, videos and files available to you without the limitations of your local hard-disk, effectively turning the cloud into an 'unlimited' drive," writes Box CEO and Co-Founder in an official blog entry.
As it stands today, Box's core sync functionality lets you keep files and folders in sync across mobile and desktop platforms. But that still requires a copy to be kept locally if you want to make any changes. There are administrative controls available to restrict what users can do with those local copies, and in some scenarios (like previewing on mobile files), no local copy is actually cached.
But with Streem's technology, there's one copy of the file that you're viewing and working with live. It looks like it lives on your desktop, but it's really a file in the cloud. Streem put this technology to work with Streem Drive, an unlimited cloud storage service that used aggressive deduplication and its seamless streaming to keep costs down.
There's no timeline for when Streem's technology will get integrated into the Box platform, according to Levie. But when it does, he says, Box will reap two key benefits.
First off, Streem will make accessing and working with larger files easy, even when the local disk doesn't have enough room. that's especially important for huge digital media files used by the entertainment industry, or massive data files used in industries like oil and gas.
Second, Streem will give users in regulated industries like finance or health services more control over where their data lives, giving users access to the files without having to worry that they're storing it on an unsecured device.
It actually sounds more than a little similar to MobileSpan, Dropbox's most recent acquisition, though MobileSpan doesn't have the same focus on video content as Streem.
Streem is so focused on video content, in fact, that they have a real-time transcoder that compresses and adjusts the quality on streaming video in a manner that can only be described as "Netflix-like."
For existing Streem customers, you'll have the option of either importing your content to Box or else downloading it all in a zip file for your own purposes. Streem is promising more details on this offboarding process soon.
Box is very purposely playing it coy as to what form Streem's technology will take in their platform once the integration is complete. But as Box looks to deepen its platform play and expand its enterprise appeal, building in technology that simultaneously makes the product work better for customers in the media and entertainment industries and in the lucrative healthcare space seems to be a canny play.