Cloud-based backup, sync and file sharing is nothing new, and neither is YouSendIt. However, while – as its name implies – YouSendIt was very much a tool for sharing and sending large files over the internet, it’s now been revamped to compete more with cloud-based sync and share tools like Dropbox and SugarSync.
As a consequence of extending its functionality, YouSendIt has developed this desktop app to allow you to control some of the aspects of the service from your computer as opposed to your web browser.
While you can send occasional files through the YouSendIt website, to take full advantage of all of its features you’ll need to sign up for an account. Free and paid-for accounts are available – the free Lite account gives you 2GB storage space and all the basic functionality you need.
Once installed, sign into the desktop client and a new folder will appear in Computer and – if you’re running Vista or Windows 7 – your Favorites folder list. Syncing files to your new account is a simple case of saving or dragging and dropping files into the YouSendIt folder – you’ll notice the icon refresh to indicate the files and folders are being uploaded. When the green tick appears, they’re online. You can now install the same client on to another Windows PC, or install the mobile app [/article/xxxxx-yousendit_iphone] to sync and access your files while on the move (you can also access them through any web browser too).
That’s all well and good, but what gives YouSendIt its own unique take on things is the ability to share folders with others quickly and easily via email (without having to attach the files to said email). Just open the YouSendIt folder, right-click the folder in question and choose Share using YouSendIt > Invite Users. Enter the person’s email address, provide a message and set file permissions before clicking Send. Once set up, you can manage permissions and revoke access from the same Share using YouSendIt menu. Others access your shared files through their web browser.
Note if you want people to have editing privileges over your files they’ll need to sign up for their own YouSendIt account; leave the permissions to read-only to allow anyone to access the folder’s contents for downloading only. If you'd like to simply share files with others, you might also want to look at YouSendIt Express, which basically lets you access the service's main functionality from your desktop.
Disappointingly the desktop app doesn’t include some of YouSendIt’s more interesting features: there’s a new option to “sign” certain types of document with an electronic signature, for example: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, RTF and PDF files are all supported. Sadly this is only accessible through your web browser. Consequently we’re left to hope that some of the more extended functionality is made available in future builds of the desktop app to make it more of an essential install.
The desktop app does a perfectly competent job of sharing and syncing folders and files, but the lack of support for some of YouSendIt’s unique features makes it frustratingly lacking in the key areas that sets the service apart from the competition.