How can you keep track of your files when they’re all in different places?
With the availability of free cloud storage increasing all the time, and more people using multiple providers, you’ll probably need to answer this question soon.
When you have documents and photos all over the Internet, it’s easy to lose track of them. Was that spreadsheet in Dropbox or Google Drive? Is your presentation in OneDrive or SugarSync? Did that picture get uploaded from your phone to Amazon Cloud Drive or Flickr? These four websites promise to help you keep tabs on your cloud accounts. Let’s see how the pros and cons of each service stack up.
Primadesk (Web, iOS, Android)
Primadesk aims to be more than just a way to manage your files in the cloud — it’s a one-stop online hub. When you log in, you’re greeted with a dashboard that shows you all the activity that has happened in your accounts within the past 24 hours, making this a great tool if you do a lot of cloud collaboration. It also gives you access to a unified inbox, letting you manage multiple e-mail accounts from the same window.
- 39 different providers, including e-mail, photo, document, and social accounts.
- Support for multiple accounts from a single provider.
- Drag-and-drop transfers between services.
- Unified e-mail inbox.
- Advanced search capabilities, letting you search by keyword, date range, and content type in a single operation.
- 256-bit encryption and HTTPS to protect your information.
- Only 10 accounts available to free subscribers
- Only 1GB of backup space available to free subscribers
- Inability to view or edit Evernote notes
Overall, Primadesk is a very competitive option, though the lack of Evernote viewing and editing support will be a big strike against it for a lot of people. Primadesk, however, does have a free option, and that’s a big plus. If you upgrade to the Pro account for $5 monthly or $50 yearly, you get the ability to attach an unlimited number accounts, instead of 10, and you get more space to backup all of your files to the cloud. The top-tier premium account provides even more space.
JoliCloud (Web, iOS)
Like Primadesk, JoliCloud offers an integrated dashboard that lets you manage a lot of different cloud services from a single page. It doesn’t provide an integrated e-mail inbox, instead opting for a unified social feed called Home that combines Facebook, Feedly, Google+, Tumblr, and a few other services. Your cloud storage accounts get added to the Drive section, where you can manage your files.
- Clean, easy-to-use interface.
- Unified social stream.
- Easy to see how much storage you’re using in each account.
- Integration of Evernote previews.
- Only 13 providers.
- Unable to transfer files between accounts.
- Limited to one account per provider.
- No unified search feature.
- No backup feature.
- Still in beta.
Without the ability to search through all of your cloud files or transfer things between different accounts, JoliCloud falls a bit flat on the file management side. The unified social feed is a cool feature, though, and the interface is quite easy to use, meaning this could be a contender if you need to do more browsing than management.
Also Download: Jolicloud for iOS (Free)
While it falls in the middle on the scale of supported providers, CloudKafé is completely free and offers a beautiful user interface and one of the most useful sharing features in this list with Baskets. Baskets allow you to choose items from any number of providers and share them in a single place by simply adding your friends’ or colleagues’ e-mail addresses.
- Unified contact storage for Google, Yahoo, and LinkedIn, creating a giant address book
- Support for multiple accounts from providers
- Simple navigation groups your accounts into documents, photos, videos, notes, contacts, and baskets*
- Ability to view and edit Evernote notes
- One-click search with results broken down by category
- Easy multi-provider sharing with Baskets
- No file transfer ability
- 18 providers is on the low end
- No backup options
- No mobile apps
*Although this classification is nice, most cloud storage services, like Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and SugarSync, can also store photos and videos, meaning that some of them will end up in your documents folder.
CloudKafé has few drawbacks, but it does lack some important functionality in file transfers and is hurt by the lack of mobile apps. However, the integration of Evernote viewing and editing is a huge plus, and the easy-to-navigate interface makes this a great option for beginners to cloud storage management.
ZeroPC (Web, iOS, Android)
This is definitely the most unique cloud management app on this list. Instead of the file-explorer-type view offered by the other sites, you get a whole online desktop to work with, complete with apps like a text editor and a web browser. Unfortunately, in my testing, they fell short of the performance offered by even the most basic free apps that come standard on any computer.
- Universal inbox for managing multiple e-mail accounts
- Easy drag-and-drop file transfer capability
- Quick search by keyword, provider, file type, and date range
- Cloud Attach allows you to attach any files from cloud storage directly to e-mails in your Gmail account
- 1GB of free storage
- Secure SSL encryption and no storage of your usernames and passwords
- Online desktop interface is much more complicated than other options
- 25MB file size upload limit on free account
- 1GB data bandwidth limit on free account
- No backup option for free account
While a Pro account gets around most of these drawbacks, I found the cloud desktop format to be very “un-user-friendly” and the apps to be sub-par. Drag-and-drop file transfer, quick search, and Cloud Attach are extremely useful features, though, so if you’re not bothered by the desktop, this might be worth looking into.
Which one should you use?
Primadesk is the standout option here, as it offers the biggest number of supported providers, file transfer capability, a unified inbox, and up to ten accounts in the free plan. If you’re looking for more than ten accounts but don’t want to pay for a premium plan, CloudKafé is a good compromise — it lacks some of the features of Primadesk, but more accounts and basket sharing are great features. JoliCloud might be a contender if it gets more functionality when it comes out of beta, but it’s not very compelling at the moment. As for ZeroPC, I’m not convinced that it’s a good way to go, but I’d love to hear your arguments to the contrary.
Do you use a cloud storage manager? Which would you recommend? Or do you skip it and just manage each one individually?
Image Credit: Baltic Servers via Wikimedia