6 Simple Cloud Tools for the Everyday User

Cloud computing seems like a scarily technical word. Going into the nitty-gritty details might give the non-techie quadruple nosebleeds, but a lot of cloud tools we use today are conveniently for the average Internet user. Aside from the usual email providers, here are a few favorites you should check out:

Cloud Save

If you find a picture on the web you want to save, some cloud storage services would require you to save the file on your hard drive first before transferring it to the cloud storage itself.  Cloud Save shortens the process by letting you save images and links directly from the web page. After adding the Cloud Save extension to your Google Chrome browser, you simply have to right click the item you want to save and choose from a menu which cloud storage service you prefer to save to.

Dropbox

This popular file hosting service is amazingly simple yet so useful, you’d be a fan from the onset.  Dropbox lets you save files on public or private folders and share the public folders to others.  You can also create links that you can email, tweet, share to Facebook, or send to Dropbox friends.  For offline access and storage, download the Dropbox Installer to your computers or mobile devices; Dropbox synchronizes all your files across your devices, so you can use them regardless of the device you use.  You initially get 2 GB of free space, but you can get bonus storage if you complete certain actions like giving feedback or inviting your friends to join Dropbox.  One of the best things about Dropbox is that it’s become so popular, other services you might be using are integrating with it. Some of these services that already feature Dropbox integration are Livescribe, Jotform, RingCentral, and Facebook. Dropbox also offers paid storage of 50 GB, 100 GB, and 1 TB or more.

Doocuments

With Doocuments, you’ll gain maximum control over documents you’ve shared with others.  You’ll be able to set smart properties that control how each document is accessed; for example, you can set non-printable pages, expiration dates, hidden pages, and passwords.  Doocuments also has a tracking feature that lets you see when and how many times your file has been viewed.  For the free plan, you get to send 3MB of files to 5 recipients max.  You also gain 5MB of storage space.  The paid plans can be used by more than one user and range from 50 GB to unlimited storage space.

Evernote

You’d be crazy not to mention Evernote if you’re looking for the ultimate note-taking app.  Think of post-its in steroids—that’s Evernote.  This note-taker in the cloud doesn’t only save typed notes; it also lets you create audio and webcam notes.  Another nifty feature is the web clipper, which integrates into your preferred browser and lets you save web pages on your Evernote account.  Like a bookmark, the web clipper allows you to add tags and comments. Unlike the usual bookmark though, Evernote makes the web pages easily searchable by tags or by words found in the web page.  The tag feature is also available in the other notes you create.

Hojoki

In this app-crazy world, we all need to get a bit organized. Hojoki does this masterfully by simple integrating all your productivity apps into a single, clean newsfeed. Sync Dropbox, Basecamp, Evernote, CloudApp, Beanstalk, Delicious, GitHub, Twitter, Google Reader, and others to your Hojoki account and keep track of what’s happening across all your productivity apps.  Hojoki also lets you add people to private workspaces where you can collaborate on content you created.   Hailed as one of the top 10 cloud apps of 2011 by ReadWriteWeb, Hojoki is a cloud tool you’d enjoy using.

If This Then That

Didn’t you ever wish that all the Instagram photos you take could automatically be transferred to your Dropbox account? Or that your text message could automatically be saved on Evernote?  If This Then That (IFTTT) is a powerful cloud service that lets you crosslink and integrate 47 channels (Evernote, Twitter, email, SMS, et cetera). IFTTT lets you create “Personal Recipes,” which are “triggers” that lead to “actions”—“If (I do) this, then that (happens).”  These personal recipes can be turned off or on when necessary.  For pre-created recipes by the IFFFT community, you can access “Shared Recipes” from your IFTTT page.

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