Google gets sync

Google gets sync

Summary: Google seems to be everywhere on an increasing basis, what with Chrome, Chrome OS, Google Glass, and of course Android. A big reason is that Google gets the concept of synchronization, and executes it so well.


I use both Chrome OS and Android for all of the standard reasons, but a primary feature of Google's platforms for me is the synchronization. This is especially true for Android, as setting up a new device is as simple as logging into the Google account.

Nexus 7
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

I buy and test a lot of devices, and the ability to have a new gadget up and running quickly is a very big deal. I need to have my settings, accounts, and apps ready to go with little fuss. Android makes this painless to do. Those who own an Android phone know exactly what I mean when they buy a tablet, for instance.

I have experienced this new device setup process many times on my own, but I witnessed someone else going through the process today. It was inspiring to see a non-expert get up and running with ease due to Android's good sync capability.

Regular readers know I have no shortage of gadgets representing all major platforms. The only way I can keep things manageable is to regularly get rid of devices that I don't use a lot. The latest device to leave the nest was the Nexus 7, Google's tablet made by Asus.

I gave the Nexus 7 to a friend, a student who uses a Transformer Prime for her daily laptop. She loves her Transformer and the Android OS that drives it. For this reason, she was the perfect candidate to receive a Nexus 7 and fit it in her daily routine.

Watching her get the Nexus 7 up and running was incredible to witness. She logged in her Google account on the Nexus 7 and spent 5 minutes delightedly exclaiming how her Transformer settings were appearing one after another on the Nexus tablet.

Her home screens were there, along with all of her accounts she'd set up on the Transformer. Rather than let Android automatically download all her apps from the Transformer (which it can do), she decided to pick and choose which ones she wanted on the Nexus 7. This was accomplished by simply tapping the ones she wanted, which Android installed in the background.

She was delighted that her new Nexus 7 was ready to go in less than 10 minutes, with an interface that looked much the same as her familiar Transformer UI. The apps most important to her were there, and the Nexus 7 was already contributing to her computing needs on the go.

This is familiar to Android users, and a great incentive to purchase multiple devices running the OS. Google knows syncing, and does it better than most mobile platform providers.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Tablets

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  • One of the reasons I started using Chrome

    At the time when I started using Chrome, Mozilla had not setup to sync bookmarks yet, they were still working on it. And with all the data I had in my browser, my thousand of bookmarks are good to have everywhere. It did make it a breeze to surf on my phone (DNA) or my Toshiba Excite when I got it. And setup was a breeze when it asked to sync all my settings.

    Not to be left out Apple does this very well too. When My wife upgraded her iPhone it was the same ease. Sign in and all her stuff appeared.
    • Sorry wrong

      Firefox had Sync well before Chrome did. And before Sync Firefox had the Xmarks plugin, which was originally named FoxMarks, and it was the first bookmark sync tool. Now Firefox Sync will synchronize bookmarks, history, passwords, and open tabs, so I can take a tab from the desktop, and go and open it right up on my phone.

      People forget the Mozilla Foundation has been in the browser business much longer than Google, and while Google has a lot of smart people and added a lot of good features into their application from the start, that doesn't mean they have more experience.
  • Agree!

    Same here. As I've handed off devices to friends and family, it's sweet to be able to say, "Just sign in, and get started!" without all the hassle of go-here, download-that, install-this, go-back-and-delete-that, etc.
  • The act of giving it away has been the inspiration for an article in itself

    Even if you personally don't end up using it, I would think its an important reference device for your job as gadget blogger and source of ideas for articles. I guess I don't understand the line between your personal gadgets and what is used as review devices in your professional life.
    • I use what I review

      If I review something, it's because I use it. Same for review devices as those I buy.
  • Maybe the purpose of synch is to get users to think

    If all that stuff is stored in my account for free on the cloud, why do I need a hundred GBytes of slow memory to store software I have to purchase every other year for hundreds of bucks PER DEVICE.
  • Sync

    When I bought my ASUS Transformer, and set it up, one of the things that blew my mind was seeing the tablet connect to my wireless hotspot without having to configure the connection. All the settings, including configuration and password were in the cloud and transferred to my new tablet from my HTC Flyer. Tell the truth, it was a little scary.
  • Windows 8 also does that...

    by logging into your account... Everything is loaded up instantly, not the apps, though. But you can install them all at once by going to the store and showing apps not installed in this PC (device)...

    The default setting comes with pretty much everything, from browser HISTORY to colors and backgrounds... I love it.