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Summary:

There are certainly plenty of ways to synchronize files among multiple computers: we’ve looked at entrants in this field including BeInSync, Dropbox, and GoodSync. New entrant in the field SugarSync is trying to stand out by offering support across a larger-than-usual breadth of devices, as well […]

ScreenshotThere are certainly plenty of ways to synchronize files among multiple computers: we’ve looked at entrants in this field including BeInSync, Dropbox, and GoodSync. New entrant in the field SugarSync is trying to stand out by offering support across a larger-than-usual breadth of devices, as well as some innovative features.

ScreenshotWhen you sign up for a SugarSync account, you get access to a secure, private web site immediately. This site serves as both the repository for your online backups and a way to access files from any device. To make this really useful, you need to download and install the SugarSync client software on one or more of your computers – there are Windows and Mac versions available. After installing the client, you can choose which folders should be synched up to your web site. Once on the site, files can be renamed, emailed, downloaded, or viewed in the browser. You also get a web archive area that does not automatically sync with changes on your computer – this lets you, for example, move a folder and then delete it from your desktop to free up local space.

ScreenshotMeanwhile, the SugarSync clients will also synchronize files among themselves (if you install them on more than one computer). This doesn’t require direct connectivity; sync is performed via the web site, so it works even if the two computers are not online at the same time. One nice touch is the existence of both full and lite sync folders. A full sync folder keeps changed reconciled between the two computers; a lite sync folder makes files available for access on demand while not taking up space anywhere except on the computer it’s shared from. For my way of working, this is one of the most useful features: I can make big chunks of stuff available from my desktop, but not have the files take up any room on my laptop until I actually want to grab and work with them.

In addition to Windows, Mac, and Web support, SugarSync also offers mobile versions for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, as well as a mobile web site for browsers on unsupported phones (and one customized just for the iPhone). This makes it easy to have, for example, your entire photo collection available to your phone without having to keep it all there.

SugarSync isn’t perfect, of course; in particular, you need to watch out for the same sort of file locking and overwriting issues that most synchronization software suffers from. For example, if you have a Word document open on two different computers, changes saved on one can’t be automatically synchronized to the other. But in its target area of wide access and safe backup (files on the web site are stored on two different servers, including Amazon S3), it works well. You can get a free 45-day trial of a 10GB account. Pricing starts at $49.99 yearly for 10GB, but until April 15 they’re offering a 50% discount on this price.

By Mike Gunderloy

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  1. Sugarsync is good but not as good as FolderShare.

    The only biggest plus of Sugarsync is its mobile interface that FolderShare lacks/

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  2. SugarSync also offers online backup, remote web access, mobile sync, a way to sync files without physically replicating it everywhere (Lite Sync).

    Here’s David Pogue’s review from the NY Times today.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/technology/personaltech/27pogue.html

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  3. Definitely it is good service. I have few comments on it.
    * As a developer, I would like to know more about kind a technology they use in it. Is it SyncML?
    * As a user, I would like to go only with one service which can fill all my need of syncing everything from bookmark, contact, calender to files. Will they expand into it?
    * As blogger, I would say Funambol is a closure solution in this area. But they lack of File Syncing service. Will these two solution (Funambol and SugarSync) come together under one umbrella?

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  4. What about DataCase on the iPhone?

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  5. SugarSync does not use SyncML. SyncML is very network inefficient and it only handles Contactcs and Caledar. SugarSync uses a much more powerful general purpose sync engine/algorithms that can deal with any data type and it has to be data/network efficient

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  6. By the way SugarSync just launched an iPhone app. I am downloading it as we speak..

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  7. I thought I understood how sugarsync worked until they deleted all my uploaded files with no warning. No response to my ticket and no email or phone number provided. Guess I have to find another option.

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  8. in the times that everybody is moving towards integrated solutions, i wonder how anybody would be satisfied with JUST file synching and access. for example HyperOffice allows:-

    – file storage, synch, AND sharing and collaboration (versioning, notifications, access permissions, backups) across devices (Mac, PC, iphone, blackberry, windows mobile)

    -synching AND sharing of mail, contacts, tasks and calendars across the above mentioned devices.

    -allows you to set up Outlook accounts without MS Exchange ( exchange alternative ) AND you can access, share and synch Outlook mail, contacts, tasks, calendars across the above devices.

    -Includes an intranet/extranet page publisher

    -includes forums, polls, chat, billing/expense application, unified login

    -you can integrate their web conferencing solution HyperMeeting with HyperOffice if you like.

    if you can get all that at one place……WHY SETTLE FOR LESS???

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  9. What if I delete a file by mistake or make some bad edits? Previously I had backups in other media that I could use but these are now all destroyed. Also do we really need this application? Why dont you get a 4 gig thumb drive and use it everywhere? For that matter you could even use a 160Gig solid state drive – once the price drops to a few bucks soon. Lastly you could use remote acess software such as: ProxyNetworks, Bomgar or GotomyPC.

    I personally want to control how files are copied myself, but thats me.

    Does it work in Linux?

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  10. There are benefits. 1 – convenience of not having to find another program to sync with some SSD or thumb drive. 2 – backups done automatically in the background (although it is very process heavy at times) 3 – Easy point and click and done. 4 – Off site storage so taht in case your thumb drive is lost or stolen there is all your data in a safe facility.

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