SugarSync – Backups, Archiving, File Syncing and Sharing Galore!

Image representing SugarSync as depicted in Cr...

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[I no longer recommend SugarSync]

On Sept. 26th I wrote a provocatively titled post entitled, “SugarSync – A Love/Hate Relationship.” I’m happy to report that SugarSync has fully addressed the dilemma in our relationship and I’m now happier than I have ever been paying my $5/mo. to SugarSync.

As a sign of this renewed relationship I figured I should do something nice from my end…You know, that whole give-take concept in a relationship? So here I am, writing a fuller review of SugarSync and without the downer of last time.

Why YOU Must Get SugarSync NOW!

I work in the Technology Services Department at Philadelphia Biblical University. On occasion individuals walk into my office and ask, “Can you help me get my files back? I have all the pictures I ever took in my life on this hard drive…and it isn’t booting.” Yes, there is variation to what is lost and how it is lost – but the point is, I hear quite regularly – at work, at home, everywhere – that people are losing data. Sometimes the data is relatively unimportant – sometimes it is heartbreakingly important. That masters thesis you were 3/4th’s done with? Gone. Those emails from your beloved, now-deceased family member? Obliterated. Those copies of legal documents you need for an upcoming court case? No longer available.

Back in the day it was a hassle to ensure your files were backed up – that is no longer the case. No one has any excuse for not having a backup of their critical files – and SugarSync eliminates this excuse. As a teenager, in spite of knowing better, I twice lost significant numbers of files to a systems crash – applications I had developed, documents I had written, emails I really wanted to save. Back in those days it was a bear to save things. You were using dialup internet and floppy disks were all the rage. Today, those excuses no longer exist – thanks to SugarSync.

Other Options?

There are other options. When it comes to backups the options are multitudinous – for example Mozy and Carbonite. Unfortunately, while I once was a Mozy fanatic (I was with them from the early beta days when Josh(?) sent us very random emails masquerading as newsletters) they refused to make their pricing competitive – continuing to charge for software licenses (almost nobody else does) and exceeding the going rates for data storage (I’d say Amazon S3 defines this) by 2x-3x! Carbonite’s user interface has never particularly impressed me.

Now SugarSync extends far beyond backups – though backups are the must-have feature everyone needs – and there are numerous competitors on this front as well. Probably the best known is Dropbox. At the time I was considering Dropbox you were forced to place all your files in one directory – I’m not sure whether they removed this limitation or not – but this was unacceptable to me, and I generally liked SugarSync’s clients and interoperability better anyways. Now I’m a bit of a SugarSync fan-boy but for good reason. I’m open to alternatives – if you believe you know of a better one let me know – but it will take more than feature parity to make me switch (and I’ll ask SugarSync if they have intentions for the feature first…and it’d have to be a pretty killer feature).

How Much Does it Cost?

For most people it is free. If you just want to ensure your critical files are protected you can use the free 2 GB account SugarSync offers and will likely never need anything more. If you want not only your critical files but your music files, saved games, pictures, and so on – then you’ll need to pay, but still – it is really reasonable. I pay $5/mo. for 30 GB and I utilize around 8 GB. If 30 GB isn’t enough you can get 60 GB for $10/mo. and so on. It is really reasonable[1]

What Else Can it Do?

The absolute, must-have feature is backups. If you don’t use SugarSync for anything else you should utilize it for backups of your files. That said, SugarSync offers a wide variety of sheer awesome features, let me outline a few of my favorites below:

  • Security – Worried about your files being in the cloud? How about knowing they are protected by 128-bit AES encryption and that all communication to/from the servers occurs over a SSL (Secure Socket Layer) connection?
  • Infinity Device Sync – I have a home laptop, a home desktop, a work laptop, a work desktop, a Verizon Droid, and an Apple iPhone 3G…If I want to have my files synced to all of these computers – I can. I can also define specific subsets to go to specific computers. For example, don’t want those work files going home? Exclude them.
  • File Versioning – What happens if you accidentally overwrite an important file? Delete the file? What happens if you need to look five revisions back? SugarSync offers seamless and intuitive file versioning – and any file that is deleted gets dropped into their deleted files bin – waiting to be permanently deleted, so if your little kid deletes a critical file – no worries, SugarSync still has it ready to go.
  • Cross Platform – SugarSync has clients for Windows, Mac OS X, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile, and Symbian. Pretty nifty aye?
  • Sharing – Want to share files with someone else? With the whole world? No problem! Its easy and intuitive and with the latest revision you can have those files you shared or others shared with you sync to your computers just like any other files you personally own.
  • Archiving – Have files you want to keep around but never use? Put them in the Archive folder and they won’t be kept on your local machines but will be kept on SugarSync’s central servers.

What Would You Still Like to See?

So, I know I said I’d be happy if I saw just this one additional feature – and I am…but I suppose the grass does always look greener on the other side…So, here are a few dream wishes:

  • SugarSync has upgraded their customer support portal and forums, I hope this indicates a new era of responsiveness to consumer feature requests, even if it is only to say, “Hey guys…we really don’t have enough demand for this feature right now” or “Yeah, we are working on it…We’ll keep you updated on how it goes.” Transparency is a huge feature to me.
  • While I was raving about the cross-platform support I noticed SugarSync doesn’t support Linux…wait a second? I swore they did once? Anyways, no matter – point is, SugarSync should support Linux…and, yeah, I mainly say this b/c I’m an open source lover – not b/c its necessarily a sensible business proposition.
  • As soon as I heard about the new sharing feature I opened SugarSync to check for updates…but wait, there is no check for new versions? Boo. 🙁 Please add one, I don’t want to have to navigate to a website to grab the latest client. Give me an option to force a check for updates. Again, just a small issue.

Conclusion

You better be on your way to get SugarSync right now…or when you complain about losing your files I might just have to…okay, I’ll try to help you anyways, but you should get SugarSync and save yourself a lot of time and headache.

  1. [1]If you have a huge collection of photos you may want to consider sending those over to Google’s Picasa Web Albums as their pricing is ridiculously inexpensive.

4 Responses

  1. Ilja Maslov says:

    Why would a Doogle search for “surgasync picasa” possibly bring me to this blog?
    Did I find a lot of Sugarsync advertising material here? YES
    Did I find anything remotely helpful to anyone trying to Sugarsyc their Picasa? NO

  2. Matthew says:

    Great, I too did a Google search for “sugarsync picasa” and found nothing, but now I think these comments are just elevating the relevance to an irrelevant phrase. D’oh!

    Essentially, what I want to know if there’s a way for my wife to have access to photos I’m uploading to iPhoto (but she has a Windows 7 laptop). I figured some sort of Picasa web album sync or something might work. Not sure.

  3. dfs ert says:

    Funny, I came here by googling Sugarsync and picasaweb.. I already paid $20 to Google for a year for 80 GB of storage. Only to realize that Picasa, great as it is, does not do two-way sync.. it uploads changes to the web but those changes will not be pushed down to other computers you have. Useless..

    So I’m back to looking for automatic sync of my photo collection. My present idea is to organize all photos in folders and use only things stored in the photos and videos themselves – like GeoTags and text tags. ‘Star’ and Face tags are stored in Picasa database files which might be a hassle to sync across Mac / Windows etc..

    Once I have all my pics in folders, I’ll just use Sugarsync or something to sync between all my computers. Finally, each computer will also sync to Picasaweb but this is really just to share the pics with other people (and because I paid already.)..

    Ideally, I would find a service like Sugarsync that does SYNC WITHOUT BACKUP. That is, just copies files between my computers through their servers without storing it themselves.. then I wouldn’t have to pay them for 60 GB of photos.

    • davemackey says:

      There are programs that do syncing without backup…I’d check snapfiles.com, they probably have a few listed there. Might also request this feature over at SugarSync – a sync only feature is a good idea.

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