Sharpcast: Data Sharing Made Simple

Imagine as a consumer the ability to synchronize your photos and contact data across multiple digital platforms in near real-time by making a change on one location and seeing it appear moments later across the others. This is the general idea behind Sharpcast, a Silicon Valley start up whose idea it is to get your data to match-up across the Web, computers and cell phones with as little effort as possible.

The Sharpcast service, one of a growing breed of so called Web 2.0 companies, currently offers its service in beta form and only for photos. Sharpcast Photos has thus far been well received by the media, with Walt Mossenberg of the Wall Street Journal calling it a “cool and compelling service that solves a real problem”. Sharpcast CEO Gibu Thomas recently took some time out of his busy schedule to do a phone interview with Digital Trends to talk about his company’s interesting offering.

“The core technology is a real time synchronization platform that works across multiple PCs and your mobile,” said Ginu ThomasThomas. “It syncs data…we have been told it is the first commercial deployment of push synchronization for consumer applications”.

Thomas explained that often the existing relationship a user has between two devices, such as a PC and PDA, is a “very one to one” style. “Sharpcast is looking at it as a multi-way problem,” he said. “People use multiple devices and the Web. We look at it as a many to many relationship…you do whatever you need to on a device or the web and pick up where you left off on the next device.”

Sharpcast Photos work by providing automatic synchronization of digital photos across at least two of three platforms – PC, Web, mobile phone. Software applications are installed on the PC and mobile phone sides and photos selected via the friendly user interface for creation of a new album. Any photos added or manipulated to any of the three platforms appear as such within a few seconds across the others. Informal tests conducted by Digital Trends on these features and more revealed the Sharpcast service to work as advertised. One nice function especially of the mobile phone application was the ability to take a photo and have it appear within seconds on a connected PC as well as the Web offering, which makes for a simple and easy way to back up your phone photos.

“When you add a picture or album,” said Thomas,” it instantly backs up the way you captured it. Let’s say you got a brand new PC and download Sharpcast…your photos will show up exactly the way as you organized it.”

Another interesting element of the Sharpcast experience is the ability to share photos with others. Users of the PC application can enable specific albums to be viewable by others either through the Web site or on their own desktop if they have the same software installed. Shared albums, as explained on the Sharpcast Web site, “stay in sync so if you add some more photos or write some captions, your contacts will automatically see the changes”.

Digital Trends Photo Album
Nino Marchetti’s Photo Album 

Sharpcast works on your PC and mobile
Sharpcast works on your PC and mobile

Beyond the photo sharing, Thomas envisions Sharpcast technology being extended to other types of files – and the metadata which supports them – in the future. Personal information management data such as contacts and calendar looks to be the next direction his company’s synchronization platform is heading towards, with an official announcement hopefully coming this fall. Future possibilities outside of PIM data might include other media file types such as music or videos.

“This is about giving you a one stop solution for all your data back up solutions,” said Thomas. “We are taking synching from a point solution to a way of solving all your data problems.”

More details on Sharpcast, including details on how to use their free services, can be found at their Web site.

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