Has Google Drive made Insync redundant?
April 25, 2012 by Terence LEE
That’s no surprise: It has 5GB of free space, which is more than double the size of what Dropbox offers, but less then Microsoft’s Skydrive (see handy comparison). It is also integrated with Google’s power search functionality.
Eventually, it will have deep integration with Google Apps and Google’s whole range of services, resulting in less friction for user adoption.
Most crucial of all is Google Drive’s ability to automatically sync files with your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. All you need to do is install the app, which is already available on Android, PC, Mac, and coming to the iOS. It functions similarly to Dropbox.
This puts Insync in an awkward position.
You see, the service was designed as a complement to Google Docs, giving it Dropbox’s file-syncing capability. But with Google’s marketing muscle and sheer omnipresence, there’s every chance that Insync will be eclipsed over time.
A bit of history: The startup was founded in 2008 by Philippine and Singapore-based entrepreneur Terence Pua. It raised a US$800,000 seed round late last year from Neoteny Labs, Reid Hoffman, Skype co-founder Toivo Annus, and Twitter’s ex-COO Santosh Jayaram. That’s some powerful backing.
However, Insync only entered beta in 2011, which leads to the question: “What if they had executed much faster?”
Things might have been different, and they might have been a more attractive acquisition target.
At this point though, Insync is the better app. It has the ability to sync with multiple accounts, although the majority of users won’t need that feature. It also automatically converts Google documents into Office formats, making them available offline. Google Drive, on the other hand, saves the files on your computer in the .gdoc format, which can only be viewed on their web app.
Insync is also working on their mobile apps, but it is unclear how they would differ from Google’s offerings at this stage.
However, it may only be a matter of time before Google incorporates these features as well. And while I can argue that Drive is complementary to Dropbox since some users would want to use both to take advantage the free storage space, the same cannot be said about Insync and Drive. It just doesn’t make sense topossess two apps that sync with my Google documents.
But I think it is still too early to dig Insync’s graves.
The hype for Google Drive has only just begun building, so it’s unclear how many users will adopt it. Insync’s survival will also depend on how fast Terence and team are able to iterate and pivot if necessary.
With all the rumors swirling about for months, I will be surprised if they haven’t already thought about how to address this looming threat. And it’s not too late: The investment they received gives them a decent runway to work out their next moves. I am curious to see if they are able to build a strong following despite Drive’s launch.
The show is now yours, Insync.
We have contacted Terence Pua from Insync for his thoughts. We’ll update the article when he responds.
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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