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Net entrepreneur Michael Robertson is hoping his latest online service will motivate people to shift the way they access their content.
The man behind MP3.com, Linspire, and Gizmo5 has a new product called SyncWizard that scans any PC, locates the most valuable personal data, and stores it in an encrypted format online.
The free service, launched Thursday, then creates a live, customized page that is accessible through a Web browser from any Internet-enabled device (PC, cell phone, PDA, iPhone, BlackBerry) and even new devices, like Amazon's Kindle and EEPC's Mini PC. The software currently supports Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. A Linux version is coming shortly.
"It's not a backup, but a 'cloud-up' because it's putting all your data into the cloud allowing you to access it more easily. You get the safety of an extra copy, but the versatility of anywhere access," Robertson said Tuesday in a blog post noting that it's increasingly likely that people have more devices in their life than fewer.
In using SyncWizard, contacts and calendars are stored online at ScheduleWorld and synchronize with a subscriber's Outlook or Thunderbird e-mail client. Word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation documents are stored with Zoho. Music is put into a personal locker at MP3tunes, where it can be accessed later.
SyncWizard is the creation of Ajax13, a small company Roberson started a couple years ago and first introduced after the company created a full-featured, browser-based word processor. While the company also had built a virtual Web based desktop called ajaxWindows, Roberson was less than satisfied.
"I didn't think these were solving a specific consumer problem," he said. "Consequently [the company] turned their focus to moving personal data up to the Internet and making it available to any Web-enabled device."
So, in essence, SyncWizard competes with consumer-oriented online storage services such as ones from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and Apple, but it also hits at the heart of customizable portals such as My Yahoo or iGoogle.
"The problem with both is that they're really not 'My' stuff. It's just a presentation of news headlines, stock quotes, TV listings, and other existing content I've requested," Robertson said.
Rather, Robertson is hoping to leapfrog plans by the portals to enable people access to their "My Documents," "My Pictures," "My Music" and whatever else people deem a necessary part of their digital world.
"And just seeing that data is there is not good enough -- they'll want to open, view, edit, print, save, and share it," he said.