Insync, a startup offering an advanced, business-focused alternative to the Google Drive desktop client, is today taking the service out of a beta with a 1.0 release for Mac and Windows users. The updated client application includes a number of features not found in the earlier build (or in Google Drive itself, for that matter), including support for multiple Google accounts, selective sync, desktop notifications, support for external and network drives, built-in sharing, and more.
The company, based in Singapore and the Philippines, actually got its start as “Dropbox for Google users” – a sort of proto-Google Drive back at a time when Drive was still just known as Google Docs. But when Google moved to launch its own Dropbox-like client with the Google Drive desktop app, Insync reincarnated itself by adding the missing features which the official client lacks.
“In the course of building this thing, what we discovered was that there was this huge group of users who wanted advanced features,” says co-founder and CEO Terence Pua, who previously ran Friendster’s Philippines operations, before starting Insync back in 2008.
“We started asking users what they needed, and things that kept popping up were multiple account support, and being able to watch any folder outside of the Insync folder’s location. We kept wondering why these things were not being built, so we went ahead and built them,” he says.
Designed for power users of Google Drive, the client allows for other handy features like built-in sharing, which lets users right-click on folders or files to initiate the sharing process, plus other features that pro customers want like permissioning, better onboarding, selective syncing of folders and files, and more. And getting even geekier, Insync 1.0 has added symlink, junction and alias support. Pua explains that now, users can keep their folder hierarchy structure in place, instead of having to drag-and-drop files directly inside the Insync folder mechanism.
The 1.0 release is available for Mac and Windows, while the Linux version is still at 0.9, but is expected to launch soon. Combined, Insync has “hundreds of thousands” of beta users across its supported platforms, around 40 percent of which are business customers on Google Apps.
As a part of today’s announcement, the company is also releasing its pricing plans. The Pro plan, which offers full access to the features, is available for a one-time payment of $9.99. In a few weeks, a business edition will be available containing an admin dashboard and centralized billing, allowing I.T. to get a bird’s-eye view of a company’s Drive storage, and add or delete employees, for example. An enterprise version is also in the works which will support document audits, advanced search queries, and the ability to drill down to see usage on an employee-by-employee basis.
Pua explains that the bigger goal for the company isn’t about just being a Google Drive client. “Our vision, really, is to do more with cloud storage,” he says. “Google Drive – and even Google – is just a first step.”
“Whether it’s about syncing, whether it’s about backing up, whether it’s about different devices – you’ve got all this data out there and it’s hard to manage in one place,” Pua adds.
Insync raised $800,000 in angel funding in January 2011, and had also raised $300,000 in seed funding back in 2009. Investors include Reid Hoffman, Tovio Annus (Skype co-founder), Joi Ito (Neoteny Labs), and Santosh Jayaram (formerly VP, Business Operations at Twitter).
Co-founded by Marte Soliza, Insync is now a team of nine, and currently hiring.
The new Insync release, version 1.0, is available for download here.