Forget Dropbox: Check out Insync, which syncs with Google Docs
December 6, 2011 by Terence LEE
Plenty of cloud services lets you store, share, and sync files across multiple devices. Dropbox and Google Docs are perhaps the most popular ones — but both have features that each other lack.
Dropbox has an offline client that lets users drop files into a special folder which will then be synced to an online account. But they can’t create Word documents and other files using Dropbox. On the other hand, while Google Docs has cloud storage and file editing capabilities, it has very limited offline functionality — users can only view files but not much else.
People who use both Google Docs/Apps and Dropbox have clamored for an integration of both apps for a long time. In comes Insync, a new online service started by Singapore and Philippines-based entrepreneur Terence Pua that hopes to bridge that gap by offering Dropbox-like features to Google Docs.
I found using Insync rather easy. After downloading the client from the website, Insync automatically downloads files from Google Docs into a specially created folder. Any file that I drag and drop into the folder or edit will automatically sync with Google Docs, and vice-versa.
This core feature is useful if you have no Internet access at the moment, but want to create a file that you’ll later share with another Google Docs or Apps user. Insync works with any file you upload too, and not just Office files. As a complement to Google Docs, it could be a formidable replacement for Dropbox.
After giving Insync a quick spin, I’ve captured some screenshots of how it works:
Insync is now currently in private beta. It will monetize on a freemium model, allowing users to sync up to 1GB of free data on Google Docs. Users pay if they want more syncing capacity. Compared to Dropbox, Insync promises to be four to six times cheaper for power users.
While Insync works as a great product, there are some improvements I’d like to see: A mobile app for smartphone users would be nice, and better documentation (perhaps in video) to guide non-techies, who may not know what Insync is all about.
It has some hurdles to overcome too if it wants to become a successful business. Fending off competition would be a major challenge. There’s really nothing stopping Dropbox from integrating with Google Docs, although they seem to be dragging their feet on this.
Insync is also not the first product of its kind. Syncdocs does essentially the same thing too, although the free version appears to be limited in functionality. It remains to be seen whether Insync will achieve the sort of user adoption it needs to monetize and scale.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE