As more of our lives get wrapped up in social media websites, we're getting to the point where mobile devices are allowing us to bypass our home computers completely. Today, Seagate is introducing a new line of backup drives with software that lets you keep all of your social media safe back home, as well as online in the cloud.
Seagate's idea with their new line of portable backup drives is to make the whole backup process as simple, painless, and comprehensive as possible. The packaging of the drives now has "Backup" plastered across it in big red letters, and while you can certainly use the drive for anything else that you want, the most interesting feature is by far the social media backup capability.
Here's how it works: the drives come with dashboard software that you can set up to do normal backups (i.e. from your PC to the drive) with just a few clicks. The interface is as simple or as complicated as you want: you can set up continuous automatic backups via Seagate's software in about five seconds with one click, or you can designate specific times to back up specific folders with just a couple more clicks.
So far, that's just run-of-the-mill backup capability, but the cool bit is that you can also use Seagate's software to log into your Facebook and Flickr accounts and automatically back all of that stuff up as well. You'll be connected directly with each site to give account access permission, and then all of the images you have stored in the cloud on these sites will be downloaded directly to your hard drive. By enabling "Auto-Save," you can also make sure that everything that you upload to Flickr of Facebook from now on will also be downloaded to your backup drive more or less instantly.
Interestingly, Seagate told us that the Facebook API would also let them backup all the pictures that your friends upload: Seagate isn't doing this (because it would be creepy) but anything on Facebook that you can click to through your account, it's possible to backup. The only downside at the moment is that this isn't a particularly intelligent backup method, at least, not yet: the software won't check and see whether you have local copies of anything, so your initial backup is going to be a bear. After that, though, just new items will be synced, which will be quick.
The drives themselves are small, lightweight, and reasonably good looking. They all have USM interfaces, which means that you can swap connectors in and out to take advantage of USB 3.0, FireWire, or even Thunderbolt connectivity, and if you upgrade your computer, it's a cinch to upgrade your drive at the same time. Available in four different colors, they'll set you back $120 for 500 gigs, $130 for 750 gigs, and $140 for a terabyte.
Now, before you blow this off as an expensive piece of hardware that you don't really need, remember that sh*t happens, and when sh*t happens, it's really sh*tty. Facebook might delete your account for no reason. Flickr might lose a server farm where all of your pictures are stored. So just forget about your music and your movies for a sec (all of that stuff is replaceable), and ask yourself how much you'd pay after the fact to recover your pictures from oblivion. It's probably more than $120, right? And really, what Seagate is doing here is just about as safe as it gets: you've got an off-site backup for safety synced with an on-site backup for convenience, which protects you against anything short of global thermonuclear war. And in that event, well... Not even Seagate will be able to save you.