An internet service that allows users to bypass social networking sites and host their own videos, pictures and other files launches on Monday.

Izimi takes to its logical conclusion the Web 2.0 trend of users having more control of their internet content.

It allows them to serve material from their own computers instead of uploading it to a website, such as MySpace, or Flickr, the photo-sharing site.

Izimi was developed in Oxford, UK, and has raised $3m in funding to date.

Its management team is currently establishing offices in San Francisco, the heart of the Web 2.0 movement.

The service is based on a small downloaded application that allows users to create a url, or web link, for any file on their computer.

They can send this web address to someone else in an e-mail and it will also be posted to the website.

Anyone clicking on the link will be able to download the file directly from the user’s computer.

Izimi differs from content-sharing sites such as YouTube and peer-to-peer services such as BitTorrent in that no files are uploaded on to servers and they are not split up among other users to speed their delivery.

Its drawback is that the person sending the file must leave their computer switched on and connected to the internet while the user downloading it has to depend on the host having sufficient broadband bandwidth to send it quickly.

But Izimi may find a niche as a person-to-person service when users want to make files available that are too big to be sent as e-mail attachments. Izimi claims its service is the future of internet publishing but it has no business model at present for turning a profit.

Izimi’s overheads will at least be low as it awaits the reaction of users.

Unlike YouTube or MySpace, it does not have the expense of maintaining vast arrays of servers and hard drives – all of the computing power and storage takes place on its members’ computers.

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