Firstly it is best to understand the concepts of the tools SMEStorage provides. There are three main tools (discounting Cloud Management DashBoard):
1. Dedicated Cloud Explorer
2. Virtual Drives(s) - 32 bit / 64 bit and WebDav
3. Desktop Sync Tool
4. MS Office / OpenOffice Toolbar PlugIn's
The Dedicated file explorer enables us to provide a client in which we control the environment to provide added value features that is not possible to add to the windows shell.
The virtual drive is a "view" on data stored. The 32 bit drive is merely a shell extension. The 64 bit drive is more interesting to you as files that you download using this are cached locally and if updated remotely the latest version is again downloaded and cached when you access it from the desktop. You can change cache settings also or turn off completely.
If you drag files or folders to the network drive they are uploaded to whatever cloud location you put them on, but this in not a sync, it really is using it as a data desktop drive except files are stored on the Cloud, not locally.
Why is the Cloud Drive a "view" ? This is because we believe as well as having data that can be replicated you also have data that you do not want replicated byt still want access to. Also specific providers stores files in a "flat" way. For example we have some S3 users who have over 500,000 files in a single bucket. You may want to access this data or search on this data on occasion but you will never want to replicated it (at least in most cases you will not)
The Desktop sync lets you finitely control how often the sync occurs. For example you can set this to run every hour. You are correct that this needed to pick up on changed files. This is an explicit sync rather than implicit sync ie. This process needs to be automated or kicked off for files to be sync'd, it is not done on each file change. We don't own the Cloud endpoints in the way DropBox does hence this is why it works this way (as an aside we are currently working on trying to enable this type of real-time "on file change" sync and it is likely to be added to a later release).
The Shell options (on right click when in the virtual drive) do not currently have a share file link. We actually enhanced this in the release we are currently completing (hope to push out by end of week). This will have the ability to create a URL for a file and the URL is copied to the clipboard. Note that the Cloud File explorer can share files and folders easily in the current release.
The Plugins for MS Office and OpenOffice literally are toolbar plugins to easily save and load files from Clouds. Yes, you can do this using the drive, but the plug-in is faster and more optimised as it integrates directly into the office suites.