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How to centralize your files with SocialFolders

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Old 01-08-2012
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 553
How to centralize your files with SocialFolders

In recent years, online services (or "cloud system") have proliferated. Whether for social networking, management tools, document creation, or even for back up of your files, they are increasingly present, and also help us not to depend on our computer.

It can be reinstalled, changed, used with another operating system, you will always have access to your photos, your friends, your documents (more or less sensitive) ... all thanks to some tools that have become almost indispensable.

This summer, a new service appeared for this purpose called "SocialFolders". Available initially in closed Beta, it is open to all recently, and proposes a new formula.

SocialFolders lets you synchronize documents in several online services (Facebook, Google Docs, Instagram, Picasa, Twitter, YouTube ...) within the same directory on your different machines, and thus to keep a local backup. Moreover, in some cases, it allows you to do the same with the public content of your friends for easier sharing.

When you will go to the site of Social Folders, you will not find a registration process except if you go through a sponsored link (click here for the registration). Indeed, the registration is found only in the client, that takes the form of software available in Mac OS X (from 10.6) here and Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 here. However, there is currently no client available for Linux, and the FAQ service does not seem to evoke an ongoing development as well, if you read it.

A client for Mac OS X and Windows, which manages the registration

For our test, we opted for the Windows version, but if you go to that same site, you will find that the installation procedure on Mac OS X is similar to Windows.

As you can see in the above pic, you must specify a name and last name, an email address and a password for your account to be created. You will ofcourse have to accept the terms and conditions of service, same can be read on their site.

Once the installation is complete, it will end up with a behavior quite similar to Dropbox: the installation box will be minimized and will take the form of an icon in the notification area, and a folder is created within the directory as "My Documents" (at least under Windows) to centralize the data.

It will have a dedicated icon, for all the services, and will also create a shortcut in your favorite locations (again, in the case of use under Windows).

A confirmation email will be sent, but it will not contain a verification link. It will only serve you the subsequent detail to tell you the limits of your free account.

A free account limited to 2000 files and 3 services

Because it is released in Beta stage, Social Folders opted for an offer, with levels of use that have recently been revised upwards:
  • Free account: Connecting to 3 services, 2000 files can be uploaded
  • Premium account: Connecting to all departments, with unlimited upload and transfer

Under the free account, you can also refer friends via email or permalink and thus you will be offered access to 1,000 additional files.

In practice, we sponsored an account and have had direct access to additional files. It also keeps track of referrals within the site interface. The 2000 files limit can be reached quickly by cons.

Anyway, the user is ofcourse informed by email when a quota is reached. This shall also detail the opportunities available to him.

An unlimited offer for $1.99 per month, or $9.99 per year

Regarding the pay offer, its price is quite moderate: $1.99 per month or $9.99 per year. It must be said that Social Folders has little or no stores. As stated in the FAQ of the service, the files are downloaded directly from the servers for the services that you want.

Payment can be made by VISA, Mastercard or American Express (No Paypal account available at the moment).

Finally, if the site sometimes refers to a limit to 999,999 files in unlimited supply, it has been confirmed that the texts were correct and that no limit was applied to the user .

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Old 06-08-2012
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 553
Re: How to centralize your files with SocialFolders

Adding Services and Data Recovery

There are currently 10 services that you can add or connect to which is shown in the below pic:

If you appreciate the presence of all the services, such as Google Docs, which is often absent from these kinds of tools (or poorly integrated), we regret the absence of Evernote or Dropbox over here though, for example. But that does not mean that it could be implemented in the future, since it has been confirmed that Evernote will be available soon.

Depending on the case, you will have several opportunities that will be available to you:
  • Download all or part of your documents
  • Download all or part of the public records of your friends
  • Upload documents publicly or privately
We will not detail here what things are currently proposed for each service, as this could change quickly. Uploading the photo on Twitter is for example not yet kept in place, but it is expected to be released soon, although this is not possible to Instagram, due to the API provided by the service.

The best way is to refer the proposed features of the services if to read its FAQ that can be found on its web url.

Addition and removal of services

The procedure of "connection" is always more or less the same and requires authentication to the service concerned. It is revocable at any time via a single click within your interface (in addition to that proposed by the service).

In most cases, a section for "Settings" allows you to adjust the synchronization settings in detail: what records are concerned, what happens to the files that is to be created in the future, the files that are sent should be private or public, etc.

Running the client

Once the services are added, the files will be added to your SocialFolders folder automatically. Be aware about the base that the client performs its checks as follows:
  • The local directory is constantly monitored
  • Verification of online services is performed at application startup
  • Verification of online services is performed once per day
Thus, we should not see SocialFolders as a kind of Dropbox, at least in its current operation. Indeed, if local changes are quickly reflected online, the reverse is not necessarily true.

You will therefore have a local copy of your service, updated on a daily basis so as not to reach the limits of the API. You will of course get the opportunity to request a manual check via the option "Refresh all my services" available from right-clicking the program icon in the notification area.

Sending, Sharing of Data

Besides the ability to download your documents or your friends so that you can get a local copy on your pc, SocialFolders opens up other possibilities for its operation. The first is sending files.

Send files online and copy them from one department to another

Indeed, with some services, it is possible to create a photo album or folder and to send documents by completing a simple directory of the local copy. An example is the case with YouTube with a simple operation: you put a video in the folder "upload" and it will automatically be sent and published.

You will then have to visit the site to fill details such as tags, title or publication.

So, there is another advantage to SocialFolders: copying data from one service to another. Want to take your Facebook photos and post them on Picasa? Just copy some directories and wait. Want to create a zip file for certain documents and host it on Google Docs or Box.com? It is also possible in a few clicks.

Simplified management of online services, which is still in its beginning?

In a way, the management of services is also quite simplified. Collections management / online directories under Google Docs is indeed always easy. Here you can easily change things. Unfortunately, the deletion is absent, we will face some limitations for the moment, especially for moving files, but the prospects are rather interesting.

This is also a remark that can be done globally for SocialFolders: the tool itself is a very good idea. The proliferation of services and interfaces makes it a tedious daily management system. It still remains to be seen how things will evolve in the coming days, and if this service is growing.
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