Sweet new service backs up while it syncs

Sharpcast's SugarSync software and service automatically syncs across PCs, Macs and phones

SugarSync also has a Web Archive feature. That means you can back up files, then delete them from your computers, but will be able to retrieve them later online if you choose to.

What's wrong with SugarSync

The most obvious area for improvement is communication with the user. For example, while signing up, my credit card address didn't match the address on file (I've recently moved). Rather than informing me of this, the site said, "I'm sorry, we are having problems processing your billing information. Please try again later." Not very helpful.

In my initial tests, I put more files than I really wanted into the Magic Briefcase. When I acted to remove some of those files, the application popped up an error message that said, "Are you sure you want to delete folder "test" and all of its contents? Deleting a folder from SugarSync will also delete it from your computer." That sounds like SugarSync will delete the original, when in fact it was referencing a desktop copy of the files in my Magic Briefcase.

In both cases, I had to learn the meaning of cryptic messages via tech support, when a clear dialog box would have sufficed.

What you need to know

SugarSync has a 45-day free trial. It's also available in any of five plans based on the amount of data, starting at US$4.99 per month, or US$49.99 per year, for 10GB all the way up to US$49.99 per month or US$499.99 per year for 250GB. Those prices are roughly halved if you sign up by April 15.

The company claims that later this year they plan to offer synchronization of iTunes files and other multimedia files, so when you add a song to your desktop, it simply shows up in your laptop's installation of iTunes.

If you're already paying for and using online backup, why not switch to SugarSync and put your backups to work? Your data still gets backed up, but your other PCs, laptops and even mobile phones get synced, too, as part of the deal.

SugarSync is an easy-to-use, reliable and fast alternative to both online backup and dedicated file synchronization software. It takes all the work and worry away from managing and protecting files across multiple systems, making sure you have the data you need when out on the road.

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. Contact Mike at mike.elgan@elgan.com or his blog, The Raw Feed.

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