SpiderOak is one of my all-time favorite cloud syncing tools. It's not one of those cloud storage tools that limits you to a single, root directory and simply syncs a folder and its children. SpiderOak is a cloud storage solution that is all about flexibility. Part of that flexibility includes an easy-to-use, free tablet app (for more information on the desktop version, check out my article, "Try SpiderOak: A first rate cloud sync tool").
With the SpiderOak cloud sync application, you can:
- Access data from all machines associated with your account
- Share files out to others with links
- View yours and others ShareRooms
- Mark files as Favorites (to have them always available and up-to-date)
- Download the files you need
- Quick access to downloaded files from within the SpiderOak app
Though SpiderOak might not be the single-most intuitive cloud sync tool available, the options it offers make it one of the more powerful. Let's install this software and discover the possibilities.
First and foremost, you'll need to have a SpiderOak account and have it installed and running on at least one desktop (refer back to my original article for information on how to get that running). Once you have that set up, you're ready to install the app on your tablet. Here are the steps for installation:
- Open the Google Play Store
- Search for "spideroak" (no quotes)
- Tap the entry for SpiderOak
- Tap Install
- Tap Accept & download
Once the installation is complete, you can go the app drawer and tap the SpiderOak launcher.The first thing you should see is a prompt to enter your SpiderOak login credentials. If not, tap the menu button (from within the SpiderOak app), and tap Login. When the login prompt opens (Figure A), enter your username and password, and then click OK. Figure A
SpiderOak running on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab.Upon successful authentication, your cloud-sync'd folders should immediately start appearing (Figure B). Figure B
As you can see, I have multiple machines attached to a SpiderOak account.
UsageSince you've already set up your sync folders (and possibly backup folders) on your desktop, you should have immediate access to those folders and files through the app. If you have multiple machines associated with your account, tap on the machine you want to access from the listing. Once the machine has opened, it will reveal the shared folders and files (Figure C). Figure C
Here is the listing of folders sync'd from one particular machine.
You can quickly download a file from your cloud share by navigating to the file in question, long-pressing the file, and tapping Download in the resulting overlay. Once the file is downloaded, you can quickly access that file by tapping on the Downloads tab. Now, because SpiderOak allows you to sync multiple machines, when a file is downloaded, it is placed within a folder that corresponds to the specific machine.As you can see in Figure D, I've downloaded a file from one particular machine. To get to that file, I tap the folder for the machine, and then navigate through the folder hierarchy (the file will sync with the same hierarchy as the desktop machine). Figure D
If you download files from other machines, the respected machines will be listed here.
Now, what about sharing files to users? All you have to do is navigate to the file you want to share (you cannot share folders — only files), long-press the file, and select Share. After a moment, a link will be generated and displayed. Along with that link is a button labeled Copy to Clipboard. Tap that button, and then you can copy that link into an email or text (or however you want to share the link). The link is temporary and will expire in three days.
Another nice feature is the ability to add favorites. Favorites enable you to get even quicker access to files. Why this is necessary is simple. Say you have a file you want to access frequently, but the file is deep within nested folders. You can add that file to your favorites and then, with a single tap, open that file.
To add a file to the favorites, just navigate to the file, long-press the file, and tap Add to Favorites. This will actually download the file and then add a quick link in the Favorites tab.
SpiderOak is one of many cloud-based storage tools that will allow you to get easy access to remote files and folders. Like its desktop equivalent, SpiderOak offers features that many other cloud-based storage tools don't. Give this app a try, and see if it doesn't take over as your sync app of choice.
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 getjackd.net.