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Bitcasa, an online storage service that turns your hard drive into a cloud server with “infinite” space, launched today at the TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 conference in San Francisco.

Bitcasa streams data to and from remote servers, turning local hard drives into caches that store temporary data. The service tricks your computer into thinking the remote server is equivalent to your hard drive. Data is encrypted on the client side. It uses predictive algorithms to stream files before the computer needs to access them, which can slow down processes.

“Our focus is on storage, we are laser focused on providing that for our consumers,” Bitcasa co-founder Tony Gauda said. “What we’re doing is just managing their storage, they don’t have to worry about it.”

The service is similar to Dropbox, which adds a folder to your computer that is synchronized with a cloud-based server. But Dropbox doesn’t have the full-conversion effect that Bitcasa employs, Gauda said. That shouldn’t cripple computers with weaker web connections because most of the technology’s focus is on intelligent caching, he said.

The company is charging $10 a month for the “infinite” model during its beta period. It also has a “less-than-infinite” service for free.

Bitcasa was founded in February, 2011 and it has raised more than $1.3 million — including an investment from former TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington’s CrunchFund. The company is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.


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