Cloud storage has become so ubiquitous that the idea of storing files online is no longer anything out of the ordinary. In fact we are almost spoiled for choice with the number of services competing for our attention and our files – Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive to name but three. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably signed up for every gigabit of free cloud storage you can lay your hands on.
All this free space sounds great, but management can become a nightmarish task as every service has its own Android application and you might well find yourself with multiple client apps installed on your device. With CloudCube, this could be a thing of the past as here, in a single app, is a tool that can be used to manage files on no less than eight online repositories. The reliance on dedicated clients had limited me to using just a couple of cloud storage services at a time, so I was keen to see how this free app could help me get past that hurdle.
To set the scene, I’ll explain my setup. I use the online storage provided by Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and SkyDrive. Google Drive is my go-to service, used on a daily basis for work projects while the rest are used for backing up photos, and storing other files; I tend to use each site for a specific purpose.
There are eight cloud storage services supported by CloudCube and most of them are big names.
This could mean that I have to use four individual apps to manage my files on my Android device, just as it could mean having to use multiple clients on my desktop computer and laptop. As it happens, there are various Android apps that can connect to more than one cloud service — such as the excellent ES Explorer — but I was intrigued to see how CloudCube compares.
As CloudCube can be used to create and delete files online, you need to grant it access to your various storage accounts.
Finding Your Way
Once you’ve configured the cloud services you use, they can all be accessed in the same place. Moving from Google Drive to Box to whatever other service you’re using is as simple as switching between folders in Explorer or Finder.
CloudCube’s home screen provides access to a number of options, but it is basic cloud navigation that is most useful.
You can see at a glance how much space you have left on each cloud so if you’re looking to save a large file, it’s easy to see where you can send it to. The app also provides “Indexing”, which means that searching is available even when you’re offline — although obviously you will only be able to open files that have been configured for offline access.
Offline searching is useful but if you have no internet connection, you’ll only learn where files are stored.
But CloudCube goes beyond simply proving you with a handy means of accessing all of your online files in one place. Synchronization is also available so you can use the app to automatically backup files from your phone or tablet; this is a great supplement to other automatic backup options such as those offered by Google+. And if you want to be able to keep track of what the app is doing in the background, the Activities section can reveal all the changes made to your files.
Synchronization links can be used to ensure that pairs of local and remote files are synced for you.
Going back to the app’s main feature, browsing through files works very much as you would expect. Click on a remote file and it will be opened after downloading, but the app supports caching so that the same file will open faster the next time. Files can be easily copied and moved in both directions, folders created as needed — everything just works as you would expect it to.
CloudCube’s files management is simple, but very effective regardless of working locally or remotely.
The interfaces for the tablet and phone versions of the app are all but identical, but the extra space afforded by the larger screen of a tablet certainly makes it easier to navigate through files and folders without the need for too much scrolling.
Using CloudCube on a phone means having to work with a slightly more cramped UI, but it still works.
The term ‘cloud’ is one that is often used to denote intrinsic usefulness. Add this tag to the name of any app or service and it automatically appears more interesting and valuable than one lacking it. Cloud storage is undeniably useful — particularly for users of mobile devices where local storage is often at a premium — and so is the ability to manage all of your files in one place.
At its heart, CloudCube is — if we’re honest — little more than a simple file explorer tool. This is no bad thing because it does what it sets out to do very well and throws in a few bonus features for good measure. If I was being picky, I could bemoan the fact that three of the supported eight services could not really be described as being widely used, but it’s difficult not to love an app that does offer support to lesser known services as well as the big names. Also, a few names are notable by their absence — iCloud, Ubuntu One, Mega — but there is scope for some of these, or others, to be added over time.
Still, the simplicity of being able to access all (well, most) of your online files in one place makes CloudCube an app well worth installing.