Review: 6 File Synchronization Services To Make You More Productive

I’m deeply in love with file sharing (synchronization) services.

The one I use and my team use DropBox , other services include SugarSync, YouSendIt, and Box.net these four services enable business professionals to store files online and synchronize these files to computers, tables or smart phones. I also look at, below, GoodSync, which synchronizes files between computers – no online storage.

With these files sharing services, instead of emailing these files back and forth to each other and wondering which file is most up to date, you can use one of these services to remotely access files from any web browser and ensure that the files you are working on are instantly accessible to other members of your team. Another benefit of these file sharing services is file backup. Your files are on your local computer (or server) and also stored online – so they are backed up.

Each of these file synchronization services provide a variety of features and some offer features others don’t have.

I’ll start with DropBox since I’m most familiar with it. DropBox is pretty simple, you download a an applet (small program) to your computer (or app to your smart phone). This program connects the online DropBox service to a shared folder(s) on your computer’s hard disk. The next time you save a file, save it to your DropBox folder. On your other computer (or another authorized user) this file will appear in the synchronized DropBox folder. Any authorized user can also visit DropBox.com and access files through their web browser.

To share files between your own computers just install the DropBox app on each computer and save files to your DropBox folder. To share files with other people create a folder and share that folder with someone. Only you and those you choose to share files with can access files in that folder.

You get 2GB for free or can pay $10  month for 50 gigabytes or $20 a month for 100 gigabtyes

SugarSync works very similar to Dropbox and enables you to share files and folders.

What’s nice about SugarSync is that you can share any folder on your backup through SugarSync. With Dropbox one folder is designated as the Dropbox folder, but if you want to share a folder called photos that is in your MyDocuments folder you must bring it to your Dropbox folder. SugarSync lets you synchronize any folder on your computer.

You get 5GB for free with SugarSync or pay $5 a month for 30GB, $10 a month for 60GB and $15 a month for 100GB

Box is another great service, which I’ve used a few times in the past. One notable thing about Box is that it has a LOT of features beyond just file sharing.  For example, for one big project, it was late at night and I needed a way to give HTML links to lots of files. Box gave me an embedable HTML code for the files I had online. Box gives you an easy way to manage file versions, post comments and discussions related to files/folders, assign others to review, approve or update a file and more task management features and there is seemless integration with Google Docs.

You get 1 user and 5 – 50GBs free (25MB – 1GB file size limit), or pay $15 a month per user for 3 – 500 users and up to 1,000 Gigabytes and a 2GB file size limt. The paid version gives you a lot more features including faster file size uploads, full text search of files and many, many more features.

Many of us have used YouSendIt to send large files to other people – it’s still great for doing that. But it recently added the ability to share folders. With the folder sharing feature, you create folders inside a main YouSendIt folder on your desktop and then provide access to these folders to other members of your team, they can access your shared folders via the web, a mobile device or computer.

For $10 a month you get 5GB of storage and file size limits of 2GB for $15 a month you get unlimited storage and a 2GB file size limit.

These services are synchronize your files through the Internet (or the cloud), however there are a number of software that keep your files and folders synchronized direct to your computers or external storage devices. One of them, GoodSync is quite feature rich. With its Block-Level synchronization only the parts of files that are changed are synched – saving lots of time – instead of resynchronizing entire files. You can also set up synchronization to be one way and serve as an easy backup solution. There is no monthly fee as your data is not stored online and your storage is only limited by the size of your storage devices. GoodSync costs $30 for the Windows version, $40 for the Mac version and $40 for the mobile version.

Another program similar to GoodSync is SourceForge’s FreeFileSync. Check it out here.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

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