Google just released it’s long-awaited Google Drive, a cloud storage service just like Dropbox. Microsoft already offers SkyDrive, a similar service that’s part of Windows Live. How awesome would it be to combine these three services - or two of three, if you prefer — to create redundant cloud storage for yourself — just like RAID1?
The Mac applications of Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive create a folder in your home folder where they keep your files and watch for changes, respectively
~/Google Drive/ and
~/SkyDrive/. In all applications you can choose in which folder the content folder is created, but you can’t choose a custom name. This forces us into using a creative solution …
Content Folders Inside Each-other
The easiest solution is placing the content folders inside each other. If you choose to place Dropbox in your home folder, you should place Google Drive in Dropbox’ folder and SkyDrive in Google Drive’s folder (or some other way around) — e.g., creating
~/Dropbox/Google Drive/SkyDrive/. This can be done in the initial set-up and in the application preferences of both Dropbox and SkyDrive and only in the initial set-up of Google Drive.
This set-up is easy, even without much computer knowledge you should be able to use it. Furthermore it doesn’t rely on technical tricks, so the chance it might be blocked by Dropbox/Google/Microsoft in the future is very small.
The solution provided before is easy, but not very elegant. A better way would be using a symbolic link: “a special type of file that contains a reference to another file or folder” (Wikipedia). This means you have one folder in your home folder in which you store your files, and several references to this folder to trick Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive into syncing the folder.
Unfortunately SkyDrive doesn’t accept symbolic links, so we have to use SkyDrive’s folder as the main folder. Google Drive doesn’t like symbolic links as well, but as soon as you rename it’s folder you get asked where you moved the folder to. This means you can rename Google Drive’s folder.
To make a double-redundant folder using Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive, follow these steps:
- Download Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive and copy the applications to your applications folder.
- Open Google Drive. Log on to your Google Account and accept the standard configuration. Google Drive will create a folder
~/Google Drive/. Quit the Google Drive application.
- Open Finder and go to your home folder. Rename the
Google Drive folder to
- Open Google Drive again. The application will warn you that the folder is gone (since you renamed it). You can manually locate the folder, just choose the
~/SkyDrive/ folder, because that was the
~/Google Drive/ folder before the renaming.
- Open SkyDrive. Log on to your Windows Live ID. SkyDrive will notice that the folder
~/SkyDrive/ already exists, you have to choose that it’s OK to use that location.
- Open Dropbox. Log on to your Dropbox account and accept the standard configuration. Dropbox will create a folder
~/Dropbox/. Quit the Dropbox application.
- Open your terminal and enter the following command:
ln -s ~/SkyDrive/ ~/Dropbox
This command creates a virtual directory
~/Dropbox/ that links to the existing real directory
- Open Dropbox again. It’ll now think that
~/SkyDrive/ is it’s folder, thanks yo the symbolic link.
- Now all three applications will sync the
~/SkyDrive/ folder on your Mac. The folder is now double redundant!