Cloud Engines , maker of a box-like device called Pogoplug that makes external hard drives accessible from any computer or iPhone, has raised an undisclosed amount of first-round funding to create user-friendly cloud environments. Its users are able to share their files, photos and more with anyone from anywhere.

The device’s most salient feature is its ease of installation. Setting up a household server is beyond the technical know-how of most casual consumers. But users of Pogoplug need only plug the box into a regular power outlet, hook it into their Ethernet connection and connect a hard drive or flash drive via a USB cable. After the hardware is set up, the PogoPlug can be activated immediately on its web site. From that point on, users can access any contents on the drive in question by going to on their computers or web-enabled phones.

The ability to upload any files off the drive makes it a snap to back up systems and transfer media libraries, but users can also view or play media straight from the drive without downloading it first. For those who don’t want to access their information through a standard browser, Cloud Engines also offers an independent local client.

The PogoPlug costs $100 and is guaranteed to keep working even if Cloud Engines goes out of business. Basically, it has stored the relevant source code in an escrow account to be opened and released to Source Forge Web for third-party developers to use in the event that it shuts down. The San Francisco-based company and its device have received a number of positive reviews for this forward thinking and the simplicity of the service provided.

Foundry Group provided the recent round of financing.


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