Insync: the Dropbox for Google Docs

For many of us, we never know what apps we need until we are told or are shown what we truly need. Sometimes we wish out loud for an app that, say, can do our evaluation reports for us (we’re sure an app like that is out there somewhere), sometimes we read about an app that surprises us with its usefulness.

When Google Docs came out, we started using it when our friends and colleagues did.  When Dropbox came out, a lot of us signed up and started benefiting from its features, including sending out invites to boost our cloud storage capacities.  But Google Docs has its own allotted 1GB for all uploaded files within your Gmail account, AND you have your files in your Dropbox, too.  That’s two clouds in an otherwise clear, blue sky.  Insync made life easier for us and merged Google Docs and Dropbox.

We’ll try and make you understand what we’re talking about via sentence completion:

  • Insync is… a file syncing and sharing platform.
  • Insync is perfect for… anyone who uses Google Docs yet wants the functionality of Dropbox.
  • In essence, Insync makes it possible to… sync, update, manage, and share files saved in Google Docs on your computer (using either Windows Explorer or Mac OS’s Finder).

We went to Insync’s website and signed in to access its core service which went FREE a few days ago.  We downloaded and installed the app in a Mac, hooked up two of our Google accounts easily, and out popped two folders ala-Dropbox in our Finder.  All our files that were saved in our Gmail were automatically synced into the Mac.  After spending some time exploring Insync and reading about its features, we decided that we’re definitely keeping this one.

Insync simplified yet beefed up cloud storage functions via…

  • unified user account/s: sign in using your Google account.  No need for a separate Insync account.
  • a very strong GDocs support:  integrates seamlessly with GDocs, even has a similar interface as Google’s.
  • using Google’s storage system:  if you’re a paying Google storage user, you have a strong advantage here ($5/20gb per year). And even if you aren’t but you have multiple Google accounts, Insync gathers these together and syncs it for you in one centralized system.
  • bumping up sharing options (unlike Dropbox!): this one’s a definite plus because it has options for
    • specify what kind of access you’ll allow: read and write, or read-only sharing
    • nested sharing: you can restrict access to specific files within a folder
    • individual file sharing: unlike Dropbox wherein you need to share a folder
    • re-sharing permissions:  allow or prevent re-sharing of files
  • keeping your storage quota safe:  if you’re a share recipient, you don’t get charged against your allotted storage quota.
  • allowing syncing of other files types:  share and sync PDFs, MP3s, etc.

Insync’s been around since 2008 and all this time they’ve definitely been working on streamlining its clients’ cloud storage and collaboration experience.  Right now, it’s not yet possible to delete files via your browser.  Deleting a file from your computer, however, deletes it from the cloud.  Nonetheless, we can look forward to their upcoming upgrades:

  • Facebook-style streamline:  shows you all the documents and changes made in your Insync account
  • iOS and Android app versions of Insync
  • Linux version to add to is now-available Windows and Mac OS versions
  • search filtering via tags 
Anybody who uses Google Docs regularly may find Insync incredibly useful.  In fact, we’re giving our friends and students at the university a shout-out about this one.  Our thanks to CEO and co-founder Terence Pua and the Insync team for showing us what we need to make our workflows simpler.
Visit their site at (make sure you add the ‘hq’ after Insync).  For a quick overview of its features, visit Insync’s blog.