Sunday, March 6, 2011

Free Online Storage - SugarSync

I posted about free online storage a while back, but wanted to circle around for an update. One of the services I mentioned back then,, has since been shut down, so obviously that's no longer an option. My other favorite, Dropbox, has been improved and expanded, and is better than ever.

But, I came across another service not long ago that I wanted to point out, too. It's called SugarSync, and the main differentiator between it and the competition is its size. Most free storage places will give you 2GB with no strings attached; Sugarsync gives you 5GB, with a handful of steps that you can take to add even more, up to a full 10GB, which is starting to be some serious free storage space.

So what does this do for you? There are several key components that are beneficial once you do a little setup work at the beginning. First, you get free off-site storage. It's great to backup your computer to an external hard drive, but if your house burns down, your external hard drive is just as fried as your primary computer. With an off-site storage service, you can go to your neighbor's house, pull up a browser, and have the same access to all your sync'ed files as you would have at your own computer. It's a great way to protect your stuff.

Second, you can sync files across multiple computers. If you have three computers at home, as well as an iPhone or Android phone, you can set up one account and add all your devices, and then all of them have instant access to all files that are sync'ed through a simple drag-n-drop process. If you want to transfer a hilarious home video from one computer to another, but it's too big to fit on your flash drive, this is a perfect way to do it - just drag it into the sync'ed folder on one computer, wait a few minutes, and boom! it magically appears on all the others. It also works through the website - let's say you've been working all night on a major presentation that's too big to e-mail to your work computer, and let's also say that you've got to hit the road soon if you want to get in to work early and have everything ready for your presentation, so you don't have time to burn a CD. Just drop the presentation into your sync'ed folder and head out. By the time you get to work, it'll be right there waiting for you - you can just download it from your SugarSync website. At work and in a hurry to shut down and get home? Just send an e-mail with your critical attachments to a special SugarSync e-mail address. It will automatically upload those attachments into your SugarSync account so they will be accessible when you get home...from all your devices.

You can also share your computer (or a single folder on your computer) with other people by making that folder public. This way you can share files with other people - just send the public link in an e-mail, and they can open up that precious video of your pride-and-joy child counting to ten for the first time. This can really be helpful for the people receiving your e-mail since they don't have to download a massive video file on their own device or over a slow Internet connection (this is especially helpful as smartphones become more prevalent).

It's pretty sweet. For a couple of quick and easy videos describing more details, go here.

So, you start out with 5GB of space, but I mentioned you can increase that total by jumping through some hoops. I've jumped through some of those hoops and gotten some extra, but it looks like you can really amp it up by referring other people who set up accounts of their own. So, if you're looking for a place to store your computer files that can be accessed from any computer, check this out.

You'll be doing both of us a favor. :)

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