How many cloud storage services do you use? If you’re anything like me, you probably have files scattered across numerous different services and have to move between apps or web sites to find what you’re looking for.
Joukuu is a service that makes it possible to access multiple online storage services from one place so you can manage all of your backups and files without the need to have several clients installed or to constantly switch between web sites.
Get the program installed and the look of the app makes an immediate impression. The minimalist interface is not quite in the style of Windows 8 – if anything it is better looking – but it has certainly taken a few cues from it.
The chances are that you won’t have a Joukuu account, but you’ll be prompted to sign for one the first time you launch the program. This involves nothing more than providing your email address, so you can be up and running very quickly, but you might find it a little disconcerting that no password is required.
Joukuu in itself provides you with no storage space, so you’ll have to start off by adding existing Google Docs, Dropbox and Box.net accounts – this involves little more than providing your username and password for each.
Working With Files
Once you have added all of the accounts you want to use, you can work with them in a couple of ways. With the ‘all accounts’ option selected on the main screen you will see a list of cloud storage folders to the left, with icons being used to differentiate between files you have uploaded to different online services.
You have the option of filtering files by clicking one of the many links that appear at the top of the screen. There are links for each of the accounts you have added so you can limit you view to one cloud storage service, but you can also use ‘music’, images’, ‘videos’ and other links to limit the files you see to those of certain types.
It’s important to bear in mind the fact that Joukuu has not been designed as a complete file management system – it is not meant to provide a way to work with your files directly. What it does do, however, is make it very easy to move files between services. Using nothing more than drag and drop you can quickly move a large number of files from your Google account to your Dropbox account – without the need to download files and then re-upload them.
You can download files in a couple of clicks and, while it is not possible to create new files online, you can create folders to help keep things organized. You can also use drag and drop to upload files from your computer to your online accounts, avoiding the need to battle with the web sites of Dropbox et al.
Another option available to you is the Windows integration. You can right click a file or folder and select the option to back up the current selection to one of the online accounts you have added – simple yet effective.
There are three different levels of service available for Joukuu. The entry level service, Joukuu Lite App, is available free of charge and enables you to work with one account for Google Docs, Dropbox and Box.net. If you have multiple accounts with any of these services, you might want to take a look at Joukuu Plus App which not only enables you to work with an unlimited number of accounts for each service, but also add interesting features such as file synchronization, support for an unlimited number of categories and more. At $59.99 per year, it’s not a particularly cheap option, but it does offer additional flexibility to those who need it.
If you prefer to keep things online, there’s also the web based service. Again, this enables you to work with an unlimited number of accounts and adds support for Sugarsync as well. In terms of the range of features available, the web service is virtually the same as the free desktop app with a few extras from the Plus app but it is also lacking the categorization options. Weighing in at $80 per year, it’s also fairly expensive and the price tag is going to be off-putting to most people.
Managing two or more online storage can be a pain, but Joukuu helps to make things much easier. Having a centralized interface through which you can access all of your online files is incredibly useful, but it would be nice if there was support for a wider range of services.
Using a desktop client often means having to makes compromises about which features of an online service you are able to use, and this is certainly the case with Joukuu, but here you’ll find that the benefits of being able to access all of your files in one place far outweigh any areas in which the app is lacking.