Cloud storage services need to step up their game now that Microsoft's baking SkyDrive directly into Windows 8, and today, SugarSync did just that with the introduction of a completely overhauled interface in SugarSync 2.0 Beta. The new look simplifies everything from sharing to search to storage and delivers a consistent look across SugarSync's various supported platforms, thanks to the desktop program's app-like design.
Veteran SugarSync users will immediately notice the trio of tabs across the top of the program: Cloud, Sharing and Activity. There's also a Search button that scours all of your cloud-synced files, regardless of which device they were originally stored on.
The central SugarSync experience revolves around the Cloud tab, where you'll find a list of all your currently-synced folders. One area where SugarSync shines is its flexible folder support; pretty much all of the other major syncing services force you to stick stored file in a central folder (i.e. your Dropbox or SkyDrive folder), but SugarSync lets you handpick individual folders to sync. Adding a new folder to sync is as easy as dragging it into the big blue "Drag a folder to sync" portion at the top of the app, or you can use your computer's file browser to select specific folders.
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Once a folder is in SugarSync's clutches, select to display new syncing and labeling options, or open the folder -- either in-app or via your PC's file browser -- to muck around with the individual files inside, much in the same way you would with the Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive desktop apps. All of your synced folders also appear as "SugarSync Drive" in Windows Explorer and Mac Finder, alongside the C: drive and other favorites.
The Sharing tab displays a list of your contacts; drop a file or folder onto a contact's name to share it with him. You'll have the option of sharing the file publicly or privately; new to SugarSync 2.0, you can now share entire folders publicly, and the recipients don't need a SugarSync account to access the files.
The Activity tab displays the most recently altered files.
SugarSync accounts still receive 5GB of free cloud storage space, an additional 10GB of free storage for each new user you refer, and scads of premium subscription options, but the SugarSync 2.0 Beta is currently only available for Mac, Windows and Android -- sorry, iOS fans. Read the SugarSync 2.0 Beta blog post for even more information, or sign up for the beta and download the program over at the SugarSync website.