Someone mentioned FolderShare on a mailing list at work recently. FolderShare is a combination of an app and a service that lets you easily syncronize files between multiple windows PCs across the internet. I’m curious about using it to share photos and other files with my family. It might also be handy for accessing files at home from work.
I’ve just installed it, it seems pretty easy to configure. I’ve just invited my brother to join, so we’ll see how well it works.
I’ve been looking for tools that let me do this sort of thing for the past few months. I was excited when I found Grouper, but disappointed when I found out that it did annoying things with audio files, presumably to keep the RIAA off their case.
I think I’d prefer FolderShare anyway. I supports a very simple mode of opreration. All you need to do to share files is click a button to create a “library” in the FolderShare application, and tell it what folder you want associated with a library. Then you invite individuals to use the library.
On the other side, all you do is choose to subscribe to the libraries available to you, tell it what folder you want to use the local copy of the library, and leave the application running. Additions, deletions and changes to the library will be automatically reflected in your local copy. If you want to use a file, you just open it like any other file. There is no need to download the files you want to use in a separate step.
However, you can choose which files to download if you wish. This might come in handy if you are using FolderShare from work, or a borrowed computer to get access to specific files on your home computer.
You also are able to use a basic permissions scheme when you share files. Whenever you invite someone to a library, you choose the level of access. There are 4 levels.
- Readers can only open files
- Contributors-can add files, but they can’t change or delete files added by other users.
- Editors have the added ability to delete or change files contributed by other users
- Senior Editors can invite other users to use a library
You may have multiple libraries, each shared with different groups of people.
The free trial is limited to 2 libraries with 1,500 files/library. For $4.50/month, you can bump that up to 20,000 files a library and 100 libraries on two computers. For $6.75/month you can up that to 50,000 files/library & 250 libraries plus get the advantage of some cool features that optimize bandwidth use.
I think the capabilities seem good and the price point strikes me as reasonable, though not great. If they priced the “personal version” at $30 year instead of $48.50, it would be a no-brainer for me. It’ may seem odd that $18.50/year matters that much to me, but it does, in part because for this to be really useful, I need other people using it, and asking them to spend almost $50/year is harder than asking them to spend $30.
In any case, I hope we see more applications like this.