BIGGER AND BETTER
One of the best new web services I've used this year is the file synchronization "magic" from Foldershare, a Texas-based start-up. It was one of my top "Thriller" picks in a recent post (see number 5).
Their service has been one of my single most used new applications on the web this year. They provide a peer-to-peer folder sharing and synchronization service that works across different types of computers and networks. As a result, I can have files and folders synchronized across two networks of computers (both Windows and Macs), across two coasts.
The company had a short life as an independent company, having been bought by Microsoft a few days ago.
Foldershare will presumably become a part of Microsoft Live and Windows Online set of offerings over time.
In the meantime, as they say in the Geico commercials, it looks like I'm going to save a bit of money as a "Pro" Foldershare subscriber. An email I just received from the company says:
"As part of the acquisition, we are announcing the discontinuation of the FolderShare subscription services. You will be receiving a refund for your subscription at a pro-rated amount.
Changes will go into effect early November; FolderShare subscribers will be refunded the pro-rated subscription fee in the week of Nov 7th. Please allow 60 days for the refund to appear on your credit card statement."
"This means you will now have the following capabilities at no charge -
* Multiple simultaneous uploads/downloads for performance
* Encryption of file transmissions for enhanced security
* Remote access to your files via Web so you have access to your data when you need it
* Synced folders so you can continue using FolderShare services to keep your documents, photos, home videos in sync across your devices"
Kind of like how online photo company Picasa went from paid to free after being acquired by Google.
It's nice for users when Web 2.0 startups gets "exits" (via GigaOm) from the big three "GYM" or the Big Seven Internet companies ("GYM via Om Malik" ).
At the end of another post on Microsoft, I'd mentioned that Microsoft may now be facing it's own "Perfect Storm" rather than just an Internet Tsunami or Tidal Wave as Bill Gates wrote in the now famous memo in December 1995.
Moves like acquiring Foldershare, as small as it is, are the type of course corrections needed at a time when the mainstream debate is pretty binary on whether software should be on the PC or in the Internet cloud, i.e., software as a standalone product, or an ad/subscription supported service.
Foldershare, with it's peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture points another possible way, leveraging lots of PCs/mobile clients AND the Internet cloud. It has potentially big implications for a lot of core Microsoft products, especially Office.
All that remains to be seen though.
In the meantime, check out Foldershare if you have more than one computer, especially in different places. Recommended.