I have a bunch of free cloud storage accounts. I like free. I also like trying new things. so…I have a plethora of 5 and 10 gigabyte online storage lockers at various spots along the information superhighway. I also have a big problem with cloud storage organization.
what’s in those accounts? depends what I was doing when I signed up. some hold music or photo files from abortive attempts to archive my collection. others have current and older project files from collaborative efforts and freelance gigs. some are mirrors of other cloud storage accounts. could I tell you what’s in any specific account? cloudkafe and jolidrive to the rescue!
organizing my cloud
my cloud folders were a mess, especially for the ones that were part of some archiving scheme or another. yes, most providers offer a mirror folder on my local hard drive for instant uploading and easy access to cloud-based files. but I have a macbook air with a pretty small hard drive and very limited alternatives for boosting onboard storage. if my goal is to get most of my stuff off my local drive, the searchable mirrored drives are not much use to me. enter the cloud storage organization professionals.
I learned about new hope for cloud abuse via a lifehacker review of jolidrive. the idea of an app that would collect all my clouds in one place was very cool. and I liked the setup and look of the app, which also has versions for android and iOS. I set up all my cloud accounts, as well as additional slots for my tumblr blogs, facebook and google plus stuff. jolicloud provides a lovely way to view the files.
but aside from aggregating the cloud views in a single window, the service didn’t appear to provide much in the way of functionality. I was not able to move files around; if I wanted to download a file, jolidrive provided a link back to the appropriate service. pretty, but not what I was hoping for.
jolidrive is built into the jolicloud operating system, so it’s likely to do more in that environment. I sent a message via the feedback link and received a fairly prompt reply assuring me that search functionality was “already under construction” and other cool features were coming soon. I’ll keep an eye on it, but for now I needed another option. UPDATE 4/19/13: jolicloud has introduced limited search functionality. unfortunately, it still lacks the ability to search across clouds. also, still no ability to add multiple clouds from one provider. and there’s no evernote – granted, a quasicloud but still a potential black hole.
in researching jolidrive, I came across a lot of mentions of cloudkafe. cloudkafe beat me to the original title for this post with their tagline “organizing your cloud!,” and the service does a really good job of it. mousing over a file category shows you what services are indexed. clicking through to the main file interface, we can see it’s a lot busier than the jolidrive version. that’s because it’s doing a lot more. multiple clouds per provider. evernote. and SEARCH!
right up top is a big beautiful search box. right now, it seems to limit search to file name, so it’s not perfect. but it’s the best I’ve found. so wrapping it up:
cloudkafe is the right choice for me, but…
the elephant in the room for cloudkafe is the lack of an android or iOS version. as I said above, my primary computer has limited local storage. I have a pocket sized external drive that I keep plugged in most of the time, but it’s not as convenient and is at far greater risk for damage. for me, an easily searchable cloud is a necessity, not just a backup. I do all my work on the mac, so I’m okay with the lack of an android version but I can see it being a dealbreaker for the tablet and phone-centric.
if jolidrive nails search, its presence in mobile would put it firmly in the lead. for now, however, cloudkafe gets my vote. I’ll do another post with more about cloudkafe as I explore it further. I’ll also post about another way to manage the cloud – consolidating everything in one unlimited account (I found a cheap option). if you have multiple cloud accounts, and have problems remembering exactly where you saved a video clip for a project or the backup for your blog, cloudkafe is a good thing to have.