| By Scott Dunn |
A new generation of services allows you to share and synchronize folders via the Internet.
Many sync services also offer online backup, remote file management, and access to your synched files from any browser, even when the remote machine on which they’re stored is turned off.
Why would you want to use a Web-based file-sync service rather than a sync program such as Microsoft’s free SyncToy (download page)? Because the services harness the power of the Internet to pierce corporate firewalls. With many of these services, you need only an Internet connection and a small sync applet that you download and install on each PC.
Unfortunately, browsers don’t make very good file managers. For one thing, you can forget about dragging and dropping between your desktop and the browser window listing your synched files.
While the services don’t charge to download their sync software, in many cases you have to pay a monthly or annual fee to access all the program’s features. The fee includes the cost of storage space on the site’s servers.
Note that the annual fees charged by most of the products I tested are the equivalent of 10 monthly payments, so going the annual route is the same as getting two months of service for free.