Cubby offers more than Dropbox, but more is not always better
There's no shortage of cloud storage/file sync services these days, a new one seems to be popping up every week or so. Yandex recently opened up a service, Microsoft is working on adapting Skydrive and Google is said to finally be launching a Dropbox competitor, dubbed Drive.In the meantime, we have Cubby, yet another cloud sync service that borrows features from several competitors to offer something similar to Dropbox, but not quite the same.
You get your standard desktop app, for PC and Mac but not Linux, the website, 5 GB of storage, sharing with friends, all fairly standard.
Cubby does stand out in a couple of areas. For one, you can sync any folder on your computer, not just a dedicated one. You do have a Cubby folder that is similar to your Dropbox one, but you can add any other folder and have its contents synced to the cloud or to one of your other computers.
This may seem like a smart idea, but it's important to note that Dropbox's limitation to just one folder is a feature not a bug. With just one folder, you know exactly what you share and what you don't.
What's inside the folder goes to the cloud, without any intervention from you, what's outside doesn't.
There was another file sharing service that offered the same functionality, Windows Live Mesh, but it never caught on, not that Microsoft did it any favors.
In fact, Cubby shares more similarities to Live Mesh in that you can sync files just between computers without making a cloud copy. There's no limit on how much you can sync between two computers, which sounds great.
But it's not, both computers have to be turned on for the feature to work, rendering it pretty useless unless you do some planning beforehand. What's more, you have to make sure that you don't sync to the cloud as well to get the unlimited transfer.
Overall, Cubby offers more options than Dropbox. You can share or sync any folder you like and you can choose to sync it with any of the other computers you have linked to your account or to the cloud or both.
But, again, that's not necessarily a good thing. People love Dropbox because of its simplicity. There's no need to link computers first to make sure your files make it to their destination, there's no need to check or uncheck cloud sync to "enable" or "disable" peer-to-peer sync and so on.
Some people will value the flexibility Cubby offers. But it's hardly the first service to offer more than Dropbox, yet Dropbox is the one with 50 million users. More is not always better and Cubby won’t be challenging Dropbox's market share any time soon. That's not to say it won't find its niche.