Well it seems Mountain View heard me (because we all know they thoroughly read my blog).
Let’s come to the facts: this week, Google Drive went public. This service replaces Docs and works pretty much like Dropbox, synchronizing one folder between all your devices (smartphone, tablets, etc.) and with Drive homepage. But it offers the possibility to edit and create new documents directly online, which can be quite useful when you don’t have access to your computer.
Also, both services allow for only one folder to be synchronized. Don’t worry, if you’re a classifying crank and you don’t want to mess up your folders, here’s a solution: symbolic links.
But I’ll stick to what I’ve said: Google own file format (gsheet, gdoc) is not 100% compatible with MS Office. This means if you want to modify a Word document on Drive, you’ll first have to convert it, which can cause loss of format and maybe data (imagine converting a pretranslated doc with Crados...). For this reason, I cannot recommend Drive for a professional use. The risk of modifying my clients’ source documents is just too great at the moment. And contrary to Dropbox, you can’t retrieve older versions of your files.
And there’s the issue of available storage space. Drive offers 5 Gb; Dropbox only 2, but you can extend it to 18 Gb with referrals and various promotional offers. You can also buy space, and in this case Drive is much more attractive (even if prices skyrocketed with Drive: from 5$ per year, the 20-ish Gb cost now 2,50 $ per month).
So: Drive or Dropbox? Personally, I’ll use both: Dropbox for my professional files, as I am assured they won’t be deteriorated, and Drive for all other file types, such as drafts for my blog, letters, images, eBooks...
Anyway, be aware that Dropbox recently improved its referral system and offers now 500 Mb for each referral (vs. 250 Mb before). So if you don’t have a Dropbox account yet and want some extra storage space, click on this link.
Last week, I was delighted to discover that there are - finally - tools allowing to sync between Dropbox and Google Documents.
Unfortunately, I was quickly disappointed as I lost the layout for ALL my documents... To this day, there are quite a few apps for this. Here's a quick review of the one I tested:
- Syncdocs: It was probably the most promising. Actually it works, even a little too well, since it downloads everything and anything. Even DP cache, as well as hidden and deleted files, which takes storage space unecessarily. I haven't found a satisfactory way to fix it yet. Right now, I just syncing one way (DP to GG). Not ideal, but it may get better.
- Cloud HQ: also promising, it offers an "integration" between DP, GG and other services. The idea is nice: it creates a new Dropbox section in Google Docs left column. You can also access your files from Cloud HQ website, but it's not very convenient. The worst is that all my Office 2010/Open Office files were renamed into "docx.doc" or "odt.doc", and were downloaded twice on my computer, taking a lot of storage space. And it's bound to become paying service at the end of the beta test. Deactivated and deleted.
- Syncplicity: I haven't tested it, because of it's 2 Gb limit for free version and it's rather expensive price (15 $/mo). It does not to have any mac client, and seems to be more like a substitute for Dropbox.
- Google Cloud Connect: it installs a new toolbar in Office documents and syncs it when you work on it. It doesn't allow you to watch a particular folder, so this is not what I am looking for.
- Jookuu (Windows only): this standalone program manages one or more Dropbox, Google and Box.net accounts. I don't like the idea of having a full software to manage my files and I'd rather have a Dropbox-like system working in background. Still testing it.
- Other services exist: insynch (beta sur invitation), SugarSync (payant), Cloud Hero (payant), Cloudseed (en suspens).
So as you can see, I still haven't found what I'm looking for (high five, Bono). I am impatiently waiting for Dropbox to implement its own solution, which seems to be on its way (vote if you have an account!). Or that Google finally creates a Picasa-like syncing system...
They (almost) done it !
Dropbox is great. I wrote about it right here. Google Docs is also nice : online collaboration is easier than ever and you can directly edit documents, which is useful when you are working from a smartphone or a tablet (such as this one, which will soon be in my hands).
The trouble is that Dropbox won't allow you to open or edit documents without downloading them, and if you need more storage space, you'll have to spend at least 10 $ per month (or 100 per year) for 50 Gb. On Google's side of the fence, there is no way to sync your local files with GDocs (forget about Google Cloud Connect, really not user-friendly). But on the other hand, storage space is really cheap: only six dollars (w/ tax) for 20 Gb. And if you really want to spend a Franklin, you'll have nothing less than... 400 Gb!
(Click on the image for full size)
Anyway, you saw me coming: for some time now I have been looking for a system to sync Dropbox and Google, and I finally found it: let me introduce you SyncDocs.
It works exactly like Dropbox, and if you set the same folder for both services, you will have two backups for your files. Plus, SyncDocs is free and does not require you to create an account. However, there seem to be some bugs converting files from Microsoft Office to Google, but it is still in beta version. You also have to have two services running in background on Windows, but I guess it is not that bad, while waiting for an official Google Sync!
Update: Not that happy. After a few days of test, there are still many things to improve. First, Google Docs conversion is pretty approximative, to say the least. Second, when you set the same folder for both Dropbox and Syncdocs, DP's cache is downloaded to your computer and to GGdocs (a solution here). Third, all my files are also downloaded twice to the root of my sync folder. The trick, not really convenient, would be to select all files under the Home page in Google and choose Actions>Not show in home. Not fully working for me.
Update 2 : I'm starting to have a headach with all of this. I think I will drop the idea for the moment. I'm just going to test Cloud HQ for a few days, I will follow-up on this. If you are interested, you can also try Syncplicity, but it is limited to 2 Gb for the free version.
Reminder: this is only a recap of the French article. To read the full post, click on the French flag on the right.
New technologies are making quite some noise in the language world these days. After Google and its automatic phone translation, France24 innovates and offers an automatic live transcript of every single word on its Internet videoplayer. Its objectives are mainly to improve SEO, accessibility to deaf people and language learning. It is not perfect yet (it works only in French), but it's still an amazing achievement.
Same idea, different website: YouTube (property of... Google) also offers an "auto-captioning" service for millions of English videos. And without a doubt, it will also translate all the content in the near future. I tried it with the latest speech of Barack Obama, and the result is pretty amazing.