There's a new way to send large movie, music and other files without worrying about whether the e-mail systems can handle large attachments.
Free software from Pando Networks Inc. automatically converts your attachments into a small file that your friend or relative can simply open to download the original file from Pando or elsewhere. Beginning Tuesday, Pando is offering plug-ins to work with most Web-based mail services.
Major e-mail providers generally limit the size of files you can send or receive to 10 megabytes. That's fine for text and even small photos — but try sending an entire photo album, music or video, and you run against the caps quickly.
And even if your provider lets you send the large files, the recipient's service provider might not accept them.
"Everybody has experienced problems of, 'I want to send something but it's too large to send by e-mail,'" said Robert Levitan, Pando's chief executive.
With Pando, files larger than a specified size are automatically converted. A copy of the file is sent to Pando's servers, and only a small attachment gets sent to the recipient, who must have or obtain the free software from Pando.
Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser are required to send files using the Web-based plug-ins, but Mac users can get the free standalone application to open them — as well as to send their own. Windows users can also send files with the stand-alone program or a plug-in for Microsoft's Outlook e-mail software. (Microsoft is a partner in the MSNBC.com joint venture.)
Pando accepts files of up to 1 gigabyte — 10 times the free offering from YouSendIt.com, which isn't integrated with the Web-based mail services. Pando plans to make money from ads and a premium version with higher limits and longer retention — files are deleted from Pando's servers after 14 days under the free plan.