SugarSync today released the public beta of a complete revamp of its cloud storage and content-sharing service that replaces its file directory-style look with a GUI-style menu along with drag and drop file transfer features.
SugarSync 2.0 also offers new search functionality that will initially allow users to search by file name and later by file content.
"That was the top requested feature by users: search," said SugarSync spokesman Robb Henshaw. "It's like having Google Desktop or Spotlight Search on your computer."
The previous SugarSync version used the user's native file directory for searches, but that didn't work well with mobile devices, Henshaw said.
Henshaw called the new user interface "very DropBoxesque" but with more powerful features. Henshaw was referring to DropBox, another cloud storage service.
A before and after look at SugarSync's user interface
SugarSync also added drag-and-drop sharing of content to contacts or to social media sites, giving users a faster method of sharing and collaborating.
"You can share by dropping the target file into a list of contacts' email addresses, or you can just drop a file to one specific email address on a list," Henshaw said.
The Sharing Tab displays what's being shared with you by others, and a second tab shows what you're sharing with everyone else. Another feature allows users to select when they want to break the file-sharing link with another user or users.
SugarSync 2.0 also introduced the new "SugarSync Drive," a virtual drive that displays all content synchronized to SugarSync's cloud storage service. The SugarSync Drive allows users to see all of their folders in the cloud from any device, and allows users to manage that content from their system's native file system.
Previously users had what SugarSync called its Magic Briefcase, a proprietary user interface. Customers can continue using the Magic Briefcase if they're more comfortable with that, or the new SugarSync Drive. New users will only be offered the SugarSync Drive cloud management feature.
Files and folders stored in SugerSync Drive display to users on which device they were originally stored as well as on what other devices the content has been synchronized.
When a user scrolls down a file directory, a green check mark will appear if it is stored locally.
"With the new version, you can keep a local copy on one device so that you can work on the file when you're offline, and pull down another copy from the cloud on all your other devices [when you're online]," Henshaw said. "Or you can just have one copy in the cloud, and no copies on any device."
A new "activity tab" also displays everything a user has been doing in the cloud. "So if you're wondering if that folder or photos got uploaded, it will display that. It shows you information by day and time," Henshaw added. "We will also let you know when files were changed and by whom. This shows you who's accessed a file you shared and who has downloaded it. It's a good collaboration tool."
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
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