KumoSync: Sync Google Documents with your Desktop


KumoSync is a free program that keeps Your local files and Google Documents in sync. This can serve to back up your local documents in Google cloud storage and prevent data loss in case of hardware failure, to make editing files on Google Documents easier, right on your desktop, and to make files on Google Documents available when there is no connection to the Internet. All the synchronization works in background, You don’t have to remember to run the backup manually.

KumoSync watches your Google Docs account(s) periodically and downloads documents that have been created or changed. Also it monitors local folders and uploads any changed files.  You can also start the synchronization manually by clicking the KumoSync taskbar icon.

If the online documents are originally created as (or converted to) Google Documents the local files will be downloaded as Microsoft Word documents (DOC), Excel spreadsheets (XLS) etc. If the local files are Word or Excel files KumoSync can either convert them to Google Documents or just upload without converting, according to the settings. If local documents are deleted KumoSync will ask whether to delete the documents from Google account as well, and vice versa.

KumoSync - taskbarAfter installing the program the KumoSync icon will appear in the the taskbar. Right click settings to setup folder sync.

KumoSync - document mapping KumoSync - settings KumoSync - settings 2
You can define one or more folders to sync with Google Docs. The local document folder can also be set to appear as a drive letter. KumoSync can synchronize all the files in a Google Docs account or just a specific collection. As one Google Docs document can be in several collections at a time, collections are not exactly equivalent to local folders and usually they are synced only one collection at a time. Syncing a whole set of local folders with a set of different collections is considered ‘experimental’ and should be handled with care. Trying to sync a local folder with nested subfolders did not produce the expected results.

When syncing is set up KumoSync will download the existing Google Docs and upload the local documents to Google. Usually a document will be synced whether it is changed locally or in Google Docs, but only one way backup can also be set up. For example when you only edit files locally you can then use the ‘Local to Google Documents’ option and thus enable backup of local files to Google Docs.

In some cases the program had some annoying and unexpected behavior. For some reason if a local Word document is opened in Word the program asks if it should also delete it from Google Docs, and thereafter when the editing in Word is done the file is synced back to Google Docs. In Excel, editing a local spreadsheet had a different effect and it generates a ‘file is locked’ warning during the synchronization.

Also synchronization errors may occur if the file name is containing characters of different code page. And be careful with syncing folders that have sub-folders inside them; it is safer to create separate mapping to every local folder to Google Docs collection than to use the experimental ‘Sync local sub-folders with the Google document collection’ option.

KumoSync PROS

  • Easy way to back up Your documents to Google cloud. Highly configurable.

KumoSync CONS

  • Not intended to work with local folders containing lots of sub-folders (probably because of Google uses of collections/tags instead of nested folders). Sometimes erratic behavior that can lead to data loss.

The verdict: this program deserves credit for tackling an interesting task that is potentially very useful; it is somewhat tripped up in  the discrepancy between the folder structure in Windows and the tagging system employed in Google docs. My advice: use with some caution, sync flat folders without subfolders in them, and read the guidelines that the developers provide on this page before you start using the program.

[Thanks go to reader Panzer for the tip about this program]

Version tested: 1.1.1

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7. 32 bit and 64 bit. Requires Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5

Visit the KumoSync home page to download the latest version.