WinZip goes social, postal for its sweet 16

Now in its 20th year, the version 16 update to archiving utility WinZip drags the venerable program into social Web with new features for sharing archives both socially and via e-mail.

When will Facebook get an app that connects it to one of the oldest archiving utilities around is one of the questions that "The Social Network" movie left disappointingly unanswered, but the new WinZip makes up for it. WinZip 16 (download), released today, not only lets you pack up your files into a tidy compressed box, it also provides a one-click method for sharing them either by e-mail or onto your Facebook "wall."

The features, called ZipSend and ZipShare, aim to bring WinZip into the 21st century and get it to compete with similar small-scale file-distributing services like YouSendIt. ZipSend lets you e-mail up to 50MB of archived files for free, with a Pro option that bumps the data cap to 2GB. WinZip and its publisher Corel are betting that people will find the convenience of a one-click e-mail plug-in and WinZip's 256-bit AES encryption more appealing than a competitive data cap, since YouSendIt, Dropbox, and competitors generally let you send or share up to 2GB worth of files at once.

While ZipSend sounds like it's designed more for business users with its paid license for a feature that others offer for free, ZipShare is clearly aimed at a slightly less-staid crowd. The Facebook app lets you zip and post 20MB of data to your Facebook wall. The point of ZipShare is to give people a way to share content besides photos and video, and so the app also includes 100MB of storage space with your ZipShare account.

These features aren't revolutionary, but with WinZip they don't have to be. As long as the program stays competitive, its 20 years of brand history will help it to lead from behind.

WinZip 16 is free to try with a nag screen, and a full license retails for $29.95.

Updated 11:45 a.m. October 26, 2011: WinZip has notified CNET that the ZipSend feature is actually powered by technology licensed by YouSendIt. The basic features of ZipSend are free, whereas the Pro license retails for $9.99 per month.