|At a glance|
|Product||insync insync () [Website]|
|Summary||Dropbox-like synchronization between your Windows/Mac OS computer and Google Docs storage.|
|Pros||• Storage cost is much less expensive than Dropbox|
• Integrated document editing (via Google Docs)
|Cons||• Can't encrypt documents|
Typical Price: $0
With Dropbox growing in popularity and others such as SugarSync and Mozy very active in the cloud storage game there are many options available for storing your files in the cloud.
In this article, I'm going to describe how to access some of the storage you might already have on Google Docs, and how you can get Dropbox-like features using Insync.
Insync was launched at the end of December 2011 and is the product of seven developers located in the Philippines/Singapore. It is in beta at this point, with version 0.9.13.17089 used for this review. It consists of a Windows (XP/Vista/7) or Mac OS X (Leopard/Snow Leopard/Lion) app you install on your computer and a companion website (www.insynchq.com). There is no Linux support, but the Insync download page shows it as "coming soon".
You'll need to have a Google account with Google Docs activated to use Insync. Then download the app and run the installer, which will prompt you to link your Google account during the install. Unlike Dropbox, Insync does not by default put its sync folder right on your desktop. Instead, the screenshot below shows that the Insync folder installs in your My Documents folder in Windows XP.
Insync folder in Windows XP
This, however, is not where your sync'd files are actually stored. Nor are they in the Insync folder located in the Insync folder. Your sync folder is the one titled with your Google account email, as circled in red in the screenshot below. To make things even more confusing, the Open Insync Folder item in the Tray menu (described below) takes you to the view below instead of into the actual sync folder itself. But the view does let you see the Insync guide, which you can't find on the Insync website.
The real Insync folder
Once installed, Insync will first sync your documents from Google back to your PC. So you now have access to all your Google Docs from your PC. Like Dropbox or SugarSync, if you add/change/delete files to your Insync folder on your PC or online at Google, the changes are sync'd in the other direction. And don't forget, you still have the usual online Google Docs access to your files.
Similar to other cloud storage apps, Insync provides visual clues for synchronization status. In your status bar the Insync icon changes depending on what's going on...
Status bar showing Insyn sync'ing
Status bar showing Insyn sync'd
You're also able to tell the status of individual files/folders since they have similar icons...
Files sync'ing to Insync
Folders sync'd to Insync
The Insync icon dropped in your System Tray/Notification Area provides easy access to your local Insync folder and your web folder.
Insync Tray/Notification menu
It also lets you check the status of your storage usage with Google and tells you the recent changes to your sync'd files. Within the Preferences menu you have the option to change the location of your Insync folder, as shown in the shot below. However, unlike some of the other cloud storage services, you can't add folders to Insync.
There are a couple of other menu options such as Actions Required and Error Messages, but their function remains a bit of a mystery to me as I've not needed to use them (I have not encountered any errors).