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gladinet - map website as driveA lot of our data resides in the clouds nowadays. From documents to photos, to backups to important files, name it and most probably there is a web service out there to help manage them.

We have covered a number of such services from time to time here on MakeUseOf. However today the focus is on an excellent application that bridges the gap between applications on the desktop and in the cloud. Basically we are going to look at one app that can map website as a drive on your Windows.

Gladinet is a free application that gives you easy access to the cloud from the comfort of your Windows desktop. Gladinet allows you to access all your files from one central location. You may need a file that you stored at your work computer in the office, or your holiday photos on Picasa or perhaps that shared spreadsheet that you were working on with your colleagues.  With Gladinet you can access all of these and more as regular folders on your computer. Not only this, Gladinet also makes it really fast and easy to use commonly used web applications.

Gladinet works by creating a mapped drive that is visible from within My Computer. All your online storage accounts, photos and documents are available as folders within this drive. What’s really amazing is that it is easy to set up all your accounts and you can have a fully functional Gladinet installation with all your accounts set up in a matter of minutes.

Here are some of the cool things that Gladinet allows you to accomplish:

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Mounting an online storage account

Every function is accessible through the all powerful systray menu. Suppose you want to mount your Windows Live Skydrive Get 5 GB of free Storage with Windows SkyDrive Get 5 GB of free Storage with Windows SkyDrive Read More account (don’t forget it now offers 25GB of online storage). To mount it as a folder within your Gladinet Virtual Drive:

Right-click on the tray icon, point to My Virtual Directories > Mount Storage as Virtual Directory > Windows Live Skydrive and enter the details

Gladinet will go through the setup process and if you provided the correct credentials you should see your Skydrive files within the Virtual Gladinet Drive.

Similarly you can mount other services like Google Docs, Picasa, Amazon S3 or a remote storage.

Integrate Web Applications into the Operating System

Gladinet allows you to use web applications as you would use a desktop application. Want to quickly edit a “*.doc” file and don’t have Microsoft Office or OpenOffice installed? Well why not use Google Docs or Zoho Docs or perhaps use the Thinkfree PPT Viewer for quickly viewing presentations?

All you need to do is enable it from the Gladinet Menu, where it will ask you for the account credentials. Henceforth you can access Google Docs from the start menu without opening the web browser. You can even right-click on a doc file and choose to open it with Google Docs, how cool is that?

Maintain Bookmarks

If you work and browse the web on more than one computer, there will come a time when you will want to access a page that you bookmarked at home, but now you need to have access to it. While you could use a solution like Foxmarks, Gladinet also allows you to aggregate all your bookmarks and access them from all the computers that you work on.

Remotely access all your computers

I briefly mentioned above that you can access your remote computer’s contents as a remote drive. However there is more.  All of your computers that have a Gladinet client installed on them automatically form a virtual network. You can access them via remote desktop from within Gladinet, or forward services from one machine to another, thereby acting as a proxy server for other machines.

Manage Everything with ease

Gladinet offers easy management of all resources from a centralized location. You can manage safe cards (which allows you to save login details so that you won’t have to enter them again and again) and all your accounts and devices from dedicated managers within Gladinet.

Webtop

As if all of the above was not enough, Gladinet also offers you a webtop, meaning you can access all of the above from within a web browser using something like a Web OS.

Gladinet is very visual and you have to use it to experience it. Here is a show case of all its capabilities.

Gladinet is one of those applications that I really hoped was available for all operating systems. As far as I know there is no such solution for Linux and to be frank, I found myself missing it when working in Linux. I hope the Linux geeks get Gladinet or a similar solution soon. If you know of a similar program please let me know.

What do you think about Gladinet? Pretty cool eh? Definitely a keeper for me. Pour in your thoughts in the comments.

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