Dropbox versus FolderShare for Syncing Files Between Computers


In my eternal quest to sync up all of the various aspects of my life (contact lists, bookmarks, addons), and to cover the control-freak side of things using version control systems like Subversion and CVS, Dropbox and Foldershare were the next natural step.

I had previously been using GoToMyPC, which allowed me nto login to my home computers from the office if I forgot a file I needed, but GoToMyPC’s Mac support is not awesome, and its very slow to use, which can be frustrating if you’re just trying to grab a few files. More importantly, the computer you’re trying to login to has to be online with the GoToMyPC software actively running – which makes sense of course, but can be a bit of a drag if I, for example, forgot to turn GoToMyPC back on after disabling all my extraneous crap to play a few hours of Warcraft.  Next day at work, when my brain kicks back in and I realize I forgot a file on my home machine, I’m SOL, since I didn’t turn the GoToMyPC app back on.

Enter Dropbox and FolderShare – two services that create a virtual storage space that can be shared between multiple computers. The two main differences between Dropbox and Foldershare is that Foldershare requires both computers to be online and running the Foldershare application in order for you to access files between them, whereas Dropbox offers online storage space – and (and I loves this) version control. No screwing around with installing the Subversion server – perfect visual version control, with no fuss and no muss. Personally for me, Dropbox is the way to go, since I never know which computer is going to be online and running the software – but Foldershare may make more sense for someone in a different situation. Your space on Dropbox isn’t unlimited, and Foldershare has limits are on the number of files/folders you can sync.

Check out the screencast:

Another plus to Dropbox – if you’re a fan of iGoogle, Dropbox has its own iGoogle widget that will let you display your shared files right on your iGoogle homepage. When you first install it, the height and/or width of the widget box on iGoogle might be a little wonky. Fortunately, if you use Greasemonkey on Firefox, there is a scripty-fix here.

PS – Dangit – I hadn’t quite finished this post when I got the tweet through Dropbox’s Twitter that Lifehacker featured Dropbox today. Crummy timing, but that’s great for Dropbox. Sign up and download for Dropbox here.