By Ezra Brook
April 26, 2012

Synchronization: The Achilles Heel of Google Drive?

Is synchronization the Achilles heel of Google Drive? It would appear so, to those who have used and enjoyed the synchronization features that are integral to Dropbox and SugarSync. Dropbox and SugarSync seem to have come up on the top of the competition in synchronization; and the launch of Google Drive does not seem to have undermined their position one whit. That is for now! But, given Google’s reach, it might not take too long before it becomes the leader in this space. After all, Google controls the search engine, doesn’t it?

Dropbox and SugarSync use synchronization technology that is sans third party sync libraries. The technology automatically kicks into operation the moment there is a change in the file or a set of files that reside in the backup system or in the local system and the two get connected over a network. The system first syncs the file structures; breaks each file into blocks and performs a hash of each block. The hashed values are then compared with the hash values in the synchronizing system and values that are not found are updated. Dropbox and SugarSync will sync files and folders wherever they are located on the connecting system. The only disadvantage using these services is that users need to create a special folder and need to work from and save to that specific folder.

Google Drive is handicapped by the fact that users will have to hold their data in an encrypted format in their own data centers for the magical synchronization process to work! This will restrict the benefits to consumers who are looking towards taking advantage of simple synchronization features.

Files have to be dragged and dropped into the virtual drive that appears like a physical drive on the user computer. An update of a file or folder that happens on the file or folder within the sync folder is automatically updated in the Google Drive. But, the changed data will not be updated in the local device and will have to be updated or copied back once more if the user needs to access it in the offline mode. All this can be extremely cumbersome. The file will only be synchronized if it is available in the sync folder and users need to remember to drag and drop the file or folder into the sync folder, if they want to keep it synchronized. It follows that Google Drive does not allow multi folder sync and the sync does not happen from the existing locations as it does in Dropbox or SugarSync.

However, Google Drive was very quick in releasing a mobile app based on its Android system. Google Drive is available for both Mac and PC. iPhone and iPad utilities are in the pipeline. Google Drive’s Android users can access the Google Drive and view all the files and folders stored there without cluttering up the memory or running out of computing space on their hand held devices.

Dropbox and SugarSync are already ahead of the game.

SugarSync has already developed great apps for:

  • iPhone
  • iPad,
  • iPod touch
  • Android
  • Blackberry
  • Windows Mobile and
  • Symbian

Dropbox has already developed great apps for:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android
  • Blackberry

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