App of the Week: SugarSync and DropBox, Two Great iCloud Alternatives

Categories: Tech

app-dropbox-sugar.jpg

App: Dropbox
Platform: Most smart phones
Website: Dropbox.com
Cost: Free (includes 2GB storage)

App: SugarSync
Platform: Most smart phones
Website: SugarSync.com
Cost: Free (includes 5GB storage)

There has been an awful lot of talk about cloud computing over the last couple years, particularly since Apple entered the fray last summer, but the vast majority of average computer users won't even scratch the surface on what can be done with online storage simply because they don't need it (yet) and don't understand what it is (yet).

However, micro services that allow some storage of digital information for the sole purpose of linking it to your mobile devices are coming of age quickly. I don't bring my laptop with me everywhere, but having access to some -- if not all -- of its data can be super convenient. My iPhone already helps to sync my contacts and calendar events (among other things) and Gmail keeps my inbox the same no matter where I view it. Then there's Evernote for my always increasing batch of to-do lists and notes.

But, when I want hardcore access to my actual computer, I can either go with some kind of remote desktop software, which doesn't help me when my computer is sleeping -- something I do regularly to keep it from swallowing up electricity while I'm out -- and is tough to use without a wi-fi connect. Fortunately, there are a couple of alternatives to iCloud out there to give you limited access and keep you connected.

First up, Dropbox, the popular file storage and sharing website that allows users to sync anything in a single folder on their computer with the Dropbox servers. Users can share the information both publicly and privately with other Dropbox users and there is some extra built-in functionality for photo display that is helpful.

The site and the app are simple, clean and organized. On your desktop computer, a single Dropbox folder -- or a folder of your choosing -- contains anything you drop in it and automatically syncs that with the online storage space and any other device you set up. On the phone, the same files are displayed in an un-cluttered and straightforward interface. Files can also be uploaded directly from the phone.

One of the distinct advantages of Dropbox is that the company has so many users that it has become integrated with all sorts of different apps. Often, apps will include Dropbox in their sharing options so that files can be sent to Dropbox like they would be shared with Facebook or Twitter.

A free 2GB of storage comes with the free account. An additional 50GB or 100GB can be purchased for $100 and $200 per year respectively. According to a representative from Dropbox, their prices are actually higher than what was originally reported. They now charge $120 annually for 50GB and $240 annually for 100GB if you go month-to-month, but annual subscriptions are $100 and $200 respectively. My mistake.

SugarSync works in much the same way as Dropbox, but it has a couple key differences. Like Dropbox, SugarSync allows a user to sync any files and folders he wants on his computer. Folders and files are assigned and new versions are synced automatically.

Both softwares not only sync your phone and your computer but, like iCloud, will sync all your devices -- iPad, other computers, other phones, etc. Neither discriminate between operating systems working seamlessly across Apple, Windows and a variety of phones, however the interface for SugarSync makes this much more clear in both the app and on the website than Dropbox.

SugarSync also streams music -- something Dropbox doesn't and I have to wonder how long SugarSync's streaming will fly with the recording industry -- edits documents and even includes a Web Archive for storing files that need to be backed up but don't need to be synced across devices.

When you think that, for example, your documents could be shared with an entire office of computers and cellphones, you start to scratch the surface of what SugarSync does for very little cost. The first 5GB of storage are free and you can buy 30GB, 60GB or 100GB of storage for less than Dropbox -- $50, $100 and $150 respectively.

The Verdict
For free accounts, I use both. There's really no reason not to do it when considering the cost. However, SugarSync makes more sense when considering purchasing additional space. Dropbox may be more widely integrated with other apps, but my guess is that SugarSync won't be far behind and the ability to stream music and share documents with a bunch of different devices through a single interface and login is unbelievably convenient.


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8 comments
Server Maintenance Houston
Server Maintenance Houston

you some ideas about GP installation and ongoing maintenance.  Dynamics GP is mid-market ERP, MRP, Accounting application with large set of add-ons, available from Dynamics GP ISVs, including such add-ons as Warehouse Management System, eCommerce, plus it is open to programmer via such tools, as Microsoft Dexterity, eConnect, SQL Scripting, VBA with Modifier, Integration Manager with VBA even handling scripts, Extender.

Server Maintenance Houston
Server Maintenance Houston

you some ideas about GP installation and ongoing maintenance.  Dynamics GP is mid-market ERP, MRP, Accounting application with large set of add-ons, available from Dynamics GP ISVs, including such add-ons as Warehouse Management System, eCommerce, plus it is open to programmer via such tools, as Microsoft Dexterity, eConnect, SQL Scripting, VBA with Modifier, Integration Manager with VBA even handling scripts, Extender.

Server Maintenance Houston
Server Maintenance Houston

you some ideas about GP installation and ongoing maintenance.  Dynamics GP is mid-market ERP, MRP, Accounting application with large set of add-ons, available from Dynamics GP ISVs, including such add-ons as Warehouse Management System, eCommerce, plus it is open to programmer via such tools, as Microsoft Dexterity, eConnect, SQL Scripting, VBA with Modifier, Integration Manager with VBA even handling scripts, Extender.

Dropbox Alternative
Dropbox Alternative

In terms of money Windows SkyDrive is the best option as they offer a lot of free storage and even the upgradable packages are affordable.

Henry
Henry

 I am not a fan of online syncing at all and am longing for the old days when one could simply keep a backup copy of their contacts and other data on their PC. Eversince the dawn of the iPhone age, backing up to PC has albeit not been possible or at the very least is complicated.

Swemy
Swemy

If you do not want to use iCloud or iTunes, I would advise you to go for standalone apps in order to copy iPhone contacts directly  to your computer or use your email account and sync your iPhone contacts to your email contacts.

Then export the contacts from the email account to your PC.

Phil Blake
Phil Blake

Anyone interested in syncing data between your computers over the internet without having to store the data on someone else's server should check out GoodSync made by Siber Systems. With their new version I am able to use GoodSync Connect to sync between all of my computers using their server, but because my information is not stored on their server and it is only used to perform the sync, I do not have to pay any type of monthly or annual maintenance fee and am not limited to the amount of storage space I use.

Dukemesh
Dukemesh

This ap is better than Dropbox. Sign up through my link and get 5gb FREE! If you like it enough to sign up for a paid account we both get 10 gb FREE! Lowest paid backup plan is only $4.99.

https://www.sugarsync.com/refe...

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