I have been a long term user of Dropbox, well until I discovered that Sugarsync provided me with much more flexibility as to how I could sync files ands folders on my PC with the SugarSync folder. With Dropbox you can only sync files and folders that sit within the parent Dropbox folder.
This led to a problem for me because some folders could not be moved, in particular with regards to Live Writer the nature of which means it has to stick firmly within the My Documents folder and nowhere else. So if for whatever reason the Live Writer My Blogs Post folder goes AWOL, I lose all the posts I have created using Live Writer.
Sugarsync solves this conundrum by allowing me to “link” folders and files that live outside of its Magic Briefcase folder – the equivalent of the Dropbox parent – so I can back up and sync files from wherever I want on my hard drive. Then Dropbox announced selective syncing and I wondered if this would work in much the same manner as Sugarsync but it doesn’t and here’s why.
With the latest beta from Dropbox the selective syncing functions allows you to turn on and off the syncing from specific folders by checking or unchecking the tick box alongside. So if you have two folders called Work and Personal the new system allows you to turn off the personal option from your works computer so no personal data is downloaded to that.
Similarly if you have several terabytes of MP3s you don’t want them flooding down to your company’s server and I cannot see the IT team being too happy either! By unchecking the box alongside your MP3 folder everyone is happy. You retain your music collection on your PC and at work the IT people do not want to know why the server system has ground to a halt.
But selective syncing is not the same as the system put in place by Sugarsync. All folders still have to be within the master Dropbox folder, it doesn’t give you the facility to link and sync with files elsewhere on your computer. Whether or not the team at Dropbox will introduce this feature I have no idea. Scanning the Dropbox forums – and the DB team are very open and forthcoming – there is no indication this is on the way.
I don’t think for a minute that Dropbox is being disingenuous by calling it selective syncing, but the term confused me when I first saw it as I associated it with the SugarSync facility and I was hoping the battle of features between the two services was hotting up to the benefit of both sets of users.