If you keep documents in several clouds and if you like the simplicity and speed of the Mac’s Finder application for pulling up the stuff on your hard drive, then you may love a new approach for bringing all your clouds together in one elegant place: the Jolidrive.
Jolicloud, the company behind Jolidrive, now will allow users to access their spreadsheets, status updates, articles from one place. The company, which previously developed a cloud-based operating system, is informing its million-strong user base that it has added to the list of sites users can connect to store in one place files ranging from spreadsheets to status updates, from articles to albums, said Tariq Krim, CEO and founder of the Paris-based company. Last year the company came out with a more limited version that could pull from fewer sites, including Twitter and Facebook (s fb).
Sign up for the site now, and you’ll be able to connect your current Box, Dropbox, Flickr(S yhoo), Google (s goog) Drive, Instagram, Skydrive, SoundCloud and YouTube accounts, for starters. Once multiple clouds are connected, signing in to Jolicloud means signing into them all — no more logging in to one at a time or having eight different tabs open for where your stuff is stored.
Krim talked again and again about making the user experience easy. Rather than trying to provide massive computing power or analytics, the company decided to focus on offering a simple product that users can connect with on an emotional level to simplify life.
Easy on the eyes
Indeed, the app is easy on the eyes — mine, at least. The main document-browsing screen expands and contracts, and a separate pane shows the data use of document-storage clouds. Plus, it’s nice to be able to quickly switch between clouds to check out different documents while staying in the same browser tab.
I found a few shortcomings while playing with it briefly on Wednesday. It can take three or four seconds to load lists of available documents, which is slower than Google Drive. I can’t search across multiple clouds, which is somewhat understandable, given that different document types have different categories of words to search for. Also, I can’t create, say, a Google Drive document on the fly. And when I click certain kinds of documents in Dropbox, at least, my browser opens a new tab and shows my Dropbox folder.
What’s more, I keep stuff in a few widely adopted silos that are not supported. (Quick examples: Google Mail, Twitter, WordPress. They might not be called clouds, but they do store content. Fortunately, Jolicloud will roll out an API soon, so other clouds can give Jolidrive users access to their other documents inside Jolicloud.
Aggregating your clouds
The site is free to all users — for now. Krim said the company could add a pro version, and it might make an option for business users, who might want to maintain personal clouds alongside separate accounts for work.
Other products or services, such as Facebook and Google+, let users bring together different kinds of content in one place. And Jolicloud bears some resemblance to cloud aggregators from startups Primadesk and Otixo. CloudMagic lets users search across many clouds.
Without a doubt, the Jolidrive can help users bring together disparate silos of their clouds. The Jolidrive API likely will prove more crucial as more clouds pop up, the cloud-storage wars rage on and more aspects of life move from the desktop to the cloud. It’s only a matter of time before some company — maybe Jolidrive, maybe not — takes this achievement in simplification, builds a comparable product for the enterprise with features hordes of business users could appreciate, and monetizes it.