The cloud is not just for syncing and sharing; it's also filled with services and apps that can do a world of good for your productivity. Whether it's a full-blown productivity suite of tools, or a single-function app to make your hectic life easier, the cloud is there for you.
Out of the multitude of cloud apps available, which ones are more apt to aid you in your quest for efficient day-to-day productivity? Naturally, that will depend upon what your goal is. For nearly every task, there is an app to help bring your cloud experience to a more productive state. Some of those apps are, in fact, geared toward productivity (and not just syncing and storing). With that in mind, I sought out five cloud-based applications that will help you work more productively. Though not every application will appeal to you, there will most certainly be one or two that can find their way into your every-day life.
SyncDocs is one of the best ways to synchronize your Google Docs account and your PC. But SyncDocs doesn't just go one way. This easy to use app allows you to sync any folder (on your PC) to and from your Google Docs account. All files are copied locally (so you don't have to be on line for access) and files are encrypted on line. SyncDocs also has an option document conversion, which will automatically convert your documents to the Google Doc format. The free version of SyncDocs syncs a limited number of files. For $19.95 USD/year you can get access to unlimited sync (up to 5GB - you can purchase more space as needed).
Boomerang is another tool that works in conjunction with a Google account. What Boomerang does is allow you to set up email reminders, schedule the sending of email, set up recurring emails, manage follow-up emails, track email responses, even schedule an email to return to your inbox at a specific interval and request read receipts after the fact. Boomerang offers a free account (10 message credits), a Personal account ($4.99/month unlimited message credits), and a Professional account ($14.99/month unlimited credits plus mobile access). For more information the different account, check out their subscription matrix.
Cloudsave is an extension for the Google Chrome browser that allows you to quickly save a file you've bound to your cloud account. Cloudsave supports Dropbox, Google Docs, Box.net, Amazon Cloud Drive, Windows Live SkyDrive, SugarSync, Facebook, Picasa, Flickr and several other services. With a simple right-click, you can have that file uploaded to your cloud account in seconds (without having to save the file to your local drive first). Cloudsave is free and works on any platform supported by Chrome.
ZeroPC is not just a mobile app, but a full-blown, cloud service that allows you to manage your cloud sync/storage connections all in one, handy desktop. The ZeroPC desktop offers a solid group of apps and tools, such as: Web browser, file manager, bulk uploader, sticky notes, universal inbox, and much more. With the Free account you get up to 39GB of cloud storage from connected services and 1GB of ZeroPC storage; with the Basic account ($2.99/month), you get up to 39GB storage from connected services and 5GB of ZeroPC storage; and with the Pro account ($9.99/month), you get up to 39GB of cloud storage from connected services and 50GB of ZeroPC storage.
Zoho is an alternative to Google Apps and MS Office 365. Zoho is a cloud service that offers nearly every app you need for productivity: Mail, documents, bug tracker, books, email campaigns, app builder, email, calendar, CRM, invoice, and much more. Each app has a different price level associated with it, but for the basic Zoho Mail (email, calendar, contacts, tasks, notes, and docs) there is no charge. Check out this page to find out more about each service offered by Zoho.
If you're looking to up your productivity through the cloud, these five tools would be a great place to start. Though every tool listed might not perfectly fit your needs, each should be of use and can help to boost your cloud-based productivity.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.