I posted late last year about some movements I saw happening in the short term around Google’s long fabled GDrive offering. Well it seems I was right (actually I knew I was right!), this morning Google announced it was allowing upload of any file times to be made within Google docs. While very sensitive to point out that this is not GDrive, for all intents and purposes it fulfils what we all expected GDrive would provide.

This morning I had a briefing with Syncplicity CEO, Leonard Chung. Syncplicity has been working very closely with Google on this project for a few months now and, after the hype and hoopla dies away, it is interesting to look at what this move actually means for the landscape.

I’ve followed Syncplicity for 18 months or so now – when I first came across them, it was safe to say that they were a provider offering cloud storage, with an interface wrapped around it. Today’s announcement see them shed that model entirely and now become the interface that brings together users storage islands of choice all in one place. It’s a smaller slice of the ecosystem, and that brings some inherent risks to Syncplicity, but they’re also broadening their footprint significantly.

Why did Google chose Syncplicity? Currently there are 5000 customers shared between Syncplicity and Google, and those customers have around one million files synced – it’s a sufficient number to give Google proof-of-concept, and Syncplicity obviously manage to increase their footprint significantly with the partnership.

I questioned Chung about the changing situation this brings to his business, the sands in the sync/backup/storage space are shifting fast and Syncplicity has deftly maneuvered with them. His response:

Our key differentiator is in allowing users to view stuff across different clouds. While our initial approach was turnkey storage/syncing, our customers pushed us in this direction as they needed us to integrate with whichever way they prefer to store data

One interesting thing to note about this deal is that Google is setting initial limits of 1Gb space and 256Mb maximum file size for its storage solution. (Regular users have 1 GB of free storage and can purchase more for $0.25/GB. Enterprise customer pay higher prices, starting at $17/year for 5 GB). Syncplicity users on the other hand can set their own storage size and have no file size limits – an interesting situation then arises when users chose to sync a particular folder onto Google if it contains larger files – in this instance the folder would appear within Syncplicity, and on all the devices that are synced with it, but would not in fact appear within Google.
For this reason, and in something of a hidden blessing for Syncplicity, Google customers who chose to use the storage system are more likely to view their files via the Syncplicity interface as it will show all their files, regardless of which have actually been synced to Google. A minor point possibly, but one which will secure a few more eyeballs, and user habits, for Syncplicity. This is after all their core offering – the interface that ties together all the discrete island of storage a user may have.

Another feature of this integration is that Google will follow the business rules Syncplicity uses for versioning control – in this way users get a consistent approach to versioning control across all their files.

It’s exciting times – exciting for Syncplicity, interesting for Google and above all one step closer to cloud nirvana for us, the users.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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