Sep
10
2015

[Review] MultCloud 2.3.1 – put multiple cloud drives into one service!

multcloud-logoMore and more people are taking their files online and storing them on storage services all across the internet. The reasons they do this are various, but often it's to allow the same file to be gotten at again when on a different computer; to share documents with colleagues or friends; as a backup in case the local computer fails, or just to clear up space on their own computer by using someone else's storage.

As the desire for online storage increases, more and more companies are setting up their own storage services offering different amounts of space and features. Some users are taking advantage of this by signing up to multiple services, to increase their storage by combining what's available from all the sites; and sharing their files among them based on which service they feel is most useful for each file. MultCloud is designed with these people in mind by allowing them to connect to several services at once, to remove the need to switch between lots of websites. But is it worth your time?

This is an update of a review originally posted on August 26th, 2013 to reflect changes to the service since the original publication.

What is it?

MultCloud is a free online service offered by Aomei, which allows people to connect to several popular Cloud Storage providers from one website and get access to all the files on them in one place. Currently, MultCloud supports these services and protocols:

  • Amazon S3
  • Box
  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • OneDrive
  • SugarSync
  • FTP
  • Copy
  • Bitcasa
  • Cloudme
  • Cubby
  • Mydrive
  • WEB.DE
  • Yandex
  • Hidrive
  • Baidu
  • WebDAV

It should be noted that while MultCloud will allow multiple accounts from each service to be added to a single MultCloud account, only one SugarSync account can be tied to a MultCloud account due to SugarSync's licencing restrictions.

Pros

  • Conveniently access files from all these services in one place
  • Easy to register to MultCloud and set up each account
  • Easily upload to and download from each service
  • Supports typical file operations such as Copy, Cut and Paste, renaming and deleting files (all found via right-click)
  • Share files directly from MultCloud via link

Cons

  • Website only – no native client software available
  • An overuse of the Times New Roman font on the "Add Cloud Drive" page and on labels around the wider interface is not very appealing on the eyes
  • Right-click options not obvious
  • Can't bulk cut, copy, paste or download files
  • Can't interact directly with search results – must right-click and choose "Link to" to go to the drive they're stored on before you can do anything with a found file

Full Review

Online storage – also known as “Cloud storage” – offers a convenience in that by moving your files online, you can retrieve them at any time on any computer, even if it’s not the one that first crated the file, simply by going online and logging in to the service; meaning you can easily share files between computers; or even get rid of the file from your local drives should you need more space, safe in the knowledge you can always get it later (assuming you have an internet connection). Nowadays, with many websites offering online storage in addition to their other services – such as Google with Google Drive, or Microsoft with OneDrive – it’s quite easy for people to end up with large amounts of online storage split between several different websites; but if you share your files between multiple services, often you find yourself having to remember several usernames and passwords for each one as well as which file is where, which can get a little inconvenient.

MultCloud’s intended purpose is to offer a solution to people who have cloud storage on multiple different websites; by allowing you to register one account and then connect all your other cloud storage accounts to it, letting you access everything in one place, so that you only need one account to access all of your filed across multiple online storage providers. If you have a Google+ or Facebook account, you don’t even need to create a new account, as you can use either of these to login and start connecting drives. However, should you dislike social networking or just prefer the more traditional way of logging in to websites, a “Sign Up” form also allows you to register an account directly by giving an email address, username, password and solving a CAPTCHA; after which you can login to MultCloud just by supplying the email and password you gave earlier.

The first time you login to MultCloud, you may be presented by a screen similar to this one. Clicking "Connect Your First Cloud Service" has a similar effect to clicking "Add Cloud Drives" any other time.

The first time you login to MultCloud, you may be presented by a screen similar to this one. Clicking “Connect Your First Cloud Service” has a similar effect to clicking “Add Cloud Drives” any other time.

Regardless of how you do it, once you’re logged in you’ll either see a list of all your connected accounts; or a prompt to add one if you haven’t already. Adding one of your online storage accounts to MultCloud starts by clicking “Add Cloud Drive”, to the left. This presents you with the logos for all the different services you can connect using MultCloud; and connecting one to MultCloud is simply a case of clicking the appropriate logo followed by the Next button; and following the instructions. When we first reviewed MultCloud back in 2013, the available services were limited to Dropbox, Box, AmazonS3, WebDAV, Google Drive, OneDrive and SugarSync; since then these have been joined by Copy, Bitcasa, Cloudme, Cubby, Mydrive, WEB.DE, Yandex, Hidrive and Baidu, with more being added over time.

Once you have at least one Cloud Drive connected to MultCloud, all your connected accounts will appear to the left underneath the “Add Cloud Drive” option, allowing you to switch between them at any time. They will also appear on the Home screen shown whenever you next log in, or by clicking the “Home” icon which looks like a blue house. From the Home screen, you can also rename or remove a service from MultCloud’s list by simply right-clicking its entry in the main box.

MultCloud’s "Address" bar (left) and search bar (right). The curved arrow to the left reloads the current view; the house icon goes back to the list of services you’ve connected to MultCloud.

After connecting your services to MultCloud, there are two ways to find your files. By clicking on a Drive, all the files and folders on the service will be shown, in a style just like you were looking at a folder in your computer. You also have a search bar in the top-right of the interface; using this search bar, you can search multiple services at the same time for a specific file. By clicking the arrow in the search bar, you can choose which services to include or exclude from the search. Unfortunately, files found in the latter way can't be interacted with directly – no checkboxes appear for downloading the files and all the right-click options aren't shown. To interact with a file found via searching, you must right-click the file and select the "Link to…" option that appears – which then takes you to the folder it's stored in. This prevents interacting with files stored across multiple drives at the same time, limiting the usefulness.

When viewing files on a single service, however, there are quite a few things that can be done. Individual files can be cut or copied; then pasted to a new location by right-clicking the files to work with. Individual files can also be renamed, deleted or downloaded through this same right-click menu. It's not immediately apparent this right-click menu exists – although it's mentioned in the "How to use" page linked on the login screen, it's not mentioned on MultCloud's interface itself – which is disappointing and could lead to people failing to notice these features, as I almost did myself.

Another way to download files is to click the checkbox that appears next to them on the file listing; then clicking the large "DownLoad" button at the top of the page – however, MultCloud does not currently support bulk downloads and will disable the button if multiple files are checked. This is a little disappointing and I hope a method to allow this can be implemented in the future. Talking about buttons, beside the large download button at the top lies two other buttons. The first is "Upload", which lets you save a file TO a service through MultCloud. Multiple files in one upload ARE permitted. The final button is "New Folder", which explains itself. New Folder is also offered by right-clicking on any file or folder, bringing the available options to a full circle.

The final right-click option is a "Share…" option. MultCloud gives its users the interesting added feature of being able to share files directly from any of their Storages through MultCloud itself, regardless of the service the files are actually hosted with. Selecting this "Share" option from the right-click menu on any file will open a sharing dialog:

The Share dialog allows you to send an email – containing a link to the file – to any number of email addresses you specify. At least one email is required to share a document. Once a document is shared (by clicking the Share button on the dialog), a link to the file will be generated (the same link that appears under "will be shared at:"); make sure only people you want to have the file see this link, as anyone with the link can download the file. Cancelling out of this dilaog will cancel the share – even if you copy the link and then cancel the dialogue without sending an email, MultCloud will report that the file has stopped being shared.

In the extreme top right is the logout option; and a cog labelled with your name. Clicking the cog gives accesses options to change your name, registered email and password.

There isn't much to say about MultCloud – the website does exactly what it intends to; and for the most part is very simple. On a personal note, I'd like to see more effort go into MultCloud's design – with less use of Times New Roman; and a choice of colour schemes, while not necessary, might also help to give the service a more personal touch, which will make people feel more comfortable when they're visiting the same service to find all their files in one place.

Conclusion

MultCloud is a very nicely desined website which does exactly what it intends – bring all your different Cloud Storage accounts into one place. Setup is simple and working with your files easy; though it's not immediately obvious that most of the options only appear on right-click. However, MultCloud's overall usefulness is hampered by its single-file approach to downloading and managing files; and by only supporting six of the major storage services. Additionally, the interface does have a few ugly areas. If you're a person who has multiple accounts across Amazon S3, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive or SugarSync; regularly download files to work on locally; and want to be able to grab all the files from a single location – you could do much worse than Aomei MultCloud; but perhaps adding more services, an improved design and a look into native client software – so that you can use it directly from your computer instead of having to visit a website, since many of the above services already provide client software of their own – would truly help to make this a killer service.

MultCloud Homepage

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