It all started with when cloud computing is making its way into the main stream computing. It promises lots of benefits even when told, a majority of the end users wouldn't be fully understand. Even if they do, people won't just drop their existing way of doing things and rush toward the cloud just because cloud computing has lots to offer. For the majority to adopt a technology, you have to give them a value in doing so.
Often this value must comes in the form that gives a user convenience or to make things more efficient.
Dropbox come up with the idea of easing files sharing across multiple devices. Wonder how did the idea catch on? Perhaps its success catches the attention of other players and at time of writing this post, there are at least more than 10 major players in this high tech, high capital layout niche.
Dropbox is known to be one of the earliest player and its facility is used by many mobile users with smartphones. In countries where access to internet is not an issue, this syncing facility did proves to be more useful than carrying a notebook or thumbdrive which is often associate with the risk of getting missing.
Below are lists of sync player not sorted in any order. I'm listing them as it came to my mind.
Google Drive - http://drive.google.com/
Free for 5GB and if you're a user of google docs, Google drive is integrated with it. It allow folder management on your PC, choosing a folder where you should place documents you want to be synced.
It doesn't support Linux and has no IOS app for iPhone / iPad but it's believed some development is on the way.
Mozy Stash - https://mozy.com/home/free
Free for 2GB but not for business used. Similar to Google drive, after installation, you get a folder named "Stash" which is also integrated into Window Explorer, on a PC.
The initial sync, if you have large files may take some time. Once it's up and running, any updates to files in the sync folder will only took seconds to be reflected.
Dropbox - http://www.dropbox.com/
Free for 2GB, market pioneer. The edge it has over it competitor at the moment is its ability to run on Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Blackberry and even Linux.
It allow a user to earn more disk space like connecting to Facebook, referring friends, connecting Twitter, follow Dropbox in Twitter, gives feedback and watching guided tour. Each friend adds another 0.5GB
You can send someone a file by right-click on that file, copy the link and paste it in an email. The recipient can then download the file with that link.
Would have been a market leader before the onslaught of the giants (Google drive and Microsoft's Skydrive).
Microsoft Skydrive - http://skydrive.live.com/
Free for 7GB. Has been around for years, and was offering 25GB of free space back then when it can only be access through a browser. It's recently revamped to allow syncing files across Windows PC, Mac and devices. It still doesn't support Linux and its major flaws is that it is not compatible with its own earlier version of OS, the Windows XP.
So long as you don't need to sync with Windows XP and Linux, Skydrive has the most features that one must not missed. Skydrive creates a folder where you can sync it with your stuffs. One feature of Skydrive is that it can fetch a file from another PC that is in sync, provided it's switched on. Another feature is that you can shoot photos with your mobile saving it into your Skydrive, and it can appear on your PC seconds later when you switch it on.
Going further into a paid subscriber, Skydrive offers the most space for your money, for the time being.
If you know of any other provider, I've not listed here, do let me know.
Going forward, at least for what is offered at the moment, one must bear in mind the files and documents you might want to put on the cloud. Competition is rife, especially if your're planning to go into paid subscription. Choosing a provider that is able to survive may be a deciding factor.