Published on June 3rd, 2016 | by Sudhanshu Sorout0
Multcloud Revisited: a year on
Almost a year ago, we had run a review of MultCloud, a cloud storage manager, and the erstwhile reviewer, Sunit, had come away mostly impressed and satisfied; Although, some dis-satisfactions had been noted. (Read that review here.) I have revisited the service to delineate the changes that have occurred in the time since, and to comment upon whatever qualitative impacts they have had on the service.
In brief, these are the changes that have occurred:
- Support for more Cloud drives viz. Mega, Evernote, Mediafire, Flickr, ownCloud, Alfreco, and aDrive
- Text Files can now be previewed within MultCloud itself (txt, html, js)
- The MultCloud service itself can now be previewed without signing up
- Some of the Cloud Drives’ official sites themselves can now be visited from within MultCloud itself, through a handy “go to official site” option
- There’s a Chrome Extension available now; it lets you oversee your created transfer tasks
Although the changes aren’t dramatic overhauls, it cannot be said that the MultCloud team has been resting on it’s haunches. Support for many more Cloud drives has been added, and the service has become truly comprehensive. Last year, we had noted the absence of support for Mega and Mediafire, these are now duly covered and Put.io, another service we would have liked to see supported, can be attached through FTP. The only major cloud drive for which support is currently missing is Ubuntu One, and I suspect that it will be added in the near future. All in all, MultCloud can no longer be faulted for not supporting a Cloud service, it simply covers all of them.
A preview function for text files works fine enough, although I would like to see the aesthetics of said function be improved. They are currently quite simplistic and almost hearken back to the era of the early web. Take a look for yourself:
I was able to initiate previews for many formats, including .pdf and .html, but word files can’t be previewed. Don’t expect support for epub and mobi formats either. Image files can be previewed too, even though multcloud’s own change logs don’t mention this, and I was able to preview jpeg and png files. This was a nice surprise.
The preview function is quite handy, but it’s functionality is severely limited and many drawbacks are present. The preview box’s shape and size cannot be altered. It’s position on the screen cannot be changed. Oddly, there’s another problem with the way text files are previewed: Some pdf files, generally ebooks, seem to be too magnified when previewed. This is what I mean:
There’s a magnification tool, but you start out at the lowest level of magnification, so the situation cannot be helped. You can only magnify it further, you know, in case your eyesight is a negative integer. MultCloud must look into this and resolve this issue.
Easier Access to the Actual Cloud Drives’ websites
Also, you can now visit your actual cloud drive website from within MultCloud itself, through a “go to official site” button , found when you right click any file.
I would like for this button to be more readily available, not least by not being buried in a right click menu. Multcloud should expose this functionality more explicitly. And you will need to go to the actual site, if you ever plan on editing anything that is, because Multcloud still doesn’t feature any editing capabilities. This was one of our main gripes with the service last year, and it still hasn’t been addressed. Lack of editing features severely curtails the usability of the site and if the service wants to be our one stop shop regarding online storage, it better introduce some editing features fast. But maybe, it’s not looking to completely erode our dependence on the actual sites themselves, and considering how deep and comprehensive the editing capabilities google and Microsoft wield are, I don’t think it can either. Still, some basic editing capabilities would go a long way in making us spend more time with MultCloud.
On this note, the preview function goes some way in reducing our dependence on the actual websites of our cloud drives. But as noted before, there are some issues with this functionality that need to be ironed out ASAP, and some features need to be added for the functionality to be completely satisfactory. As it stands, even when it works as intended, it’s a less than satisfactory experience.
Last Years Gripes: Addressed?
Yes and No. As we just mentioned, previews and the option to visit the actual websites go some way in extenuating the lack of basic editing functionality, but we still find ourselves visiting the actual websites. This is quite inconvenient, and changing this would be quite a feather in MultCloud’s cap.
As for the UI, it remains unchanged, which is fine by me. Sunit had found the UI somewhat deficient and full of abstruseness a year ago, but this is definitely a subjective thing and I have no obvious gripes with it. Sure, it can use a little polish to come out of the 00’s closet it’s been hiding in, but on the whole, it’s simple interface exposes the core functionality really well. There are no unnecessary frills or pages to go through, everything is right there the moment you log in. I do have one gripe though, there should be more ready and faster access to some functionality, like the “go to official site” button.
Compared to last year, support for many more Cloud Drives has been added, with the exception of only one major service – Ubuntu One. If you aren’t an Ubuntu One user, it’s very likely that your Cloud storage drive is supported. This is a very welcome move and I think MultCloud deserves some plaudits for its comprehensive support of cloud drives.
There’s a chrome extension now, but really, unless you are a paying customer of MultCloud, there’s nothing it can do for you.
Transfers between Cloud drives in Multcloud isn’t a drag and drop thing, you have to create “tasks” through a dedicated “transfer” tab. This process is simple enough, no abstruseness here. You can schedule transfers to happen at a future time and date, which is a handy feature, or simply have them happen in the here and now. The former requires a paid upgrade. This is an important distinction, which helps us explain why the extension is useless for free users. Even for paid users, the use-case scenario is pretty slim and is hardly compelling.
The extension allows you to oversee all of the transfer tasks you have created, both scheduled and otherwise. Now, naturally, if the task you have created isn’t scheduled, it’s one that has already been accomplished and doesn’t need to be overseen in any capacity. Therefore, for free users, this extension offers nothing and should be ignored by them in it’s present state. Paid users can oversee their scheduled tasks, in case they want to initiate the transfer right away and not wait for the stipulated time period, that they themselves have set, to elapse. This is a handy feature.
In case you would like to initiate a scheduled task right away, you don’t have to run to MultCloud’s site and tediously run all the tasks there; you can now do it straight from the extension.
- Support for more cloud drives is extant
- Preview function is a nice addition
- Option to visit the actual Cloud websites from within MultCloud is a nifty addition, which really shouldn’t have taken this long to manifest
- You can quickly initate scheduled tasks through the chrome extension,handy
- Still no editing capabilities
- Preview function lacks many features and is somewhat broken
- Some simple options take too long to access
- The chrome extension does nothing more than help you initiate scheduled tasks; useless for free users