Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Syncing getting better but still a way to go

Regular Squash readers will know that I’ve followed the online/offline space very closely for a long-time and have followed the emergence of various synching products as they’ve come to market.

I’ve favoured SugarSync for quite a while, who just this week announced another $10 million capital raising which I’m hoping will keep the innovation ticking over with those guys.

However, it appears they are going to need to as there are some very cool new services hitting the market, including ZumoDrive, profiled by TechCrunch yesterday.

ZumoDrive isn’t actually a synching tool – rather it tricks your desktop into thinking its using the local drive when in actual fact its saving your file to the cloud.

Unfortunately, I missed out on a beta invite so can’t report on how it works but it would need the option to override as there are just some files I want on my desktop. However, for many devices like older PCs and netbooks where you might not have a big whopping hard drive this is an awesome idea.

Reading the ZumoDrive story on TechCrunch I also stumbled across Syncplicity, which I see has what for me has been the biggest failing with SugarSync – file sharing! SugarSync is supposed to be rolling this feature out in January but its already apart of Syncplicity so I’m keen to see how it works. And I’m going to have to give Microsoft’s Mesh another go, shortly.

The reality is all of these products are still fairly immature. Here’s my wishlist.

1. More intuitive synching between XP and Vista – because XP and Vista structure their file system slightly different; ie in XP My videos, My pictures, etc are under My Documents while in Vista they run in parallel so it’s difficult to get these folders synching correctly. I’m sure the problem also exists synching across non-Windows operating systems

2. Rule-based synching. I’d like to be able to set up rules as to what gets synched, what gets stored on my hard drive, what is offline. For example, I’d like all documents older than a month to be online-only (although still look like there in my file system) but not to sync any large videos because it blows my download quotas. I’m sure everyone has different needs based on their download limits, how many computers they use etc.

3. Shared folders with rules for who can do what in the folder

4. Intelligent updating so that every time you change a large file it only changes the bit you’ve changed rather than having to re-upload and download the entire file

5. The ability to also synch to external services. I’d like any file I put in My Pictures to automatically upload to Facebook or Smugmug.

Filed under: AJAX Challenge

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