I've used a lot of cloud storage tools, from Dropbox to SpiderOak to Google Drive. Recently I happened upon a new player in the game: pCloud. This variation on the cloud storage service not only offers 10 GB of free storage (with the ability to get more space free or via purchase), but it also adds plenty of other nice features to the mix, including:
- encryption (subscription service required for this feature);
- mobile apps for Android and iOS;
- Linux, Mac, and Windows desktop clients;
- easy file/folder sharing;
- built-in audio/video players;
- no file size limitation;
- sync any folder from the desktop;
- panel integration for most desktops; and
- Automatica file manager integration.
pCloud is a Swiss company that was founded a few years ago, and its service should be a serious contender for anyone looking at cloud storage. The service really shines on the desktop—in fact, it's probably my favorite desktop cloud tool I've used to date; plus, the mobile app is clean and incredibly easy to use.
Let's install pCloud on Android and Linux and kick the tires.
SEE: Intellectual property: A new challenge in the cloud (Tech Pro Research)
The installation on Android is quite simple. Follow these steps to add the app to your device.
- Open the Google Play Store on your device.
- Search for pCloud.
- Locate and tap the entry by pCloud LTD.
- Tap Install.
- If prompted, tap Accept.
- Allow the installation to complete.
Once installed, you'll find the launcher in your App Drawer, or on the home screen, or in both spots. Launch the app and either log into your existing pCloud account or sign up for new one.
Installing on Linux is almost as easy; I'll demonstrate on Elementary OS Loki. There are a few dependencies to meet for Elementary (on Ubuntu this shouldn't be an issue). To first install the dependencies, open a terminal window and issue the command:
sudo apt-get install gdebi gksu libcairo-perl libgksu2-0 libglib-perl libgtk2-perl libpango-perl
Once that installation completes, download the pCloud desktop installer and follow these steps.
- Open a terminal window.
- Change into the directory housing the downloaded file.
- Issue the command sudo dpkg -i pCloud_Linux_XXX_YYY.deb (XXX is your system architecture and YYY is the release number).
- Allow the installation to complete.
The desktop client will not run automatically. Locate the pCloud entry from you desktop menu and click to open it. You will be greeted by a login window (Figure A) where you enter your pCloud account credentials.
Once you've logged in, your file manager will open to the pCloud folder. You can immediately start working with your cloud-stored files/folders, copy files/folders to this directory, or you can close that window.
Using the mobile edition of pCloud is very straightforward, as it doesn't include all of the features as the desktop or web iterations. Out of the box, you'll find five folders ready for you to work with. By long-pressing a folder, you can then tap the menu button and copy, move, delete, rename, or open the settings for the selected folder. The contextual menu for files will allow you to copy, move, delete, rename, save, export, or open with.
If you tap the sandwich menu (three vertical lines in the upper left corner), the sidebar will open (Figure B) where you can gain access to the Crypto Folder (if you've purchased that option), open your Favorites and shared folders, check the links you've created, check your notifications, and open the pCloud settings window.
All of this is pretty standard for a mobile cloud app. It's not until you open and run the desktop client that you see pCloud really shining.
The pCloud desktop app takes a nod from insync and places the burden of heavy lifting in the desktop panel indicator app. Click that, and you'll see everything pCloud has to offer on the desktop (Figure C).
With a quick right- or left-click of the indicator, you can open your pCloud drive in your file manager, open your crypto folder (if you've subscribed), add new folders to the Sync, create new shares, check your notifications and account status, open the settings window, and pause the sync.
Let's add a new local folder to the sync. To do this, follow these steps.
- Click the pCloud panel app.
- Click Sync.
- Click Add New.
- Click Choose Local Folder (Figure D).
- Navigate to the folder to be synced.
- Select the folder to be synced and click Open.
- Click Choose pCloud Drive Folder.
- Select where you want the local folder to sync to in your pCloud directory hierarchy.
- Click Save.
- Click Add Sync.
The sync will immediately start and be available to all of your devices associated with your pCloud account. You can add as many sync folders as you need—pCloud doesn't care, as long as you don't run out of space on your cloud storage account.
As good as it gets
The pCloud service is the best cloud sync you've never heard of. I highly recommend you give this take on cloud storage/sync a try. With one of the best desktop clients I've experienced and a mobile app that works, you'd be remiss if you didn't take advantage of pCloud.
- Is the cloud really just someone else's computer? (TechRepublic)
- Insync takes Google Drive to the next level on Android (TechRepublic)
- How to blacklist files and folders in Insync to prevent filling up Google Drive (TechRepublic)
- How to enable two-step authentication in Dropbox (TechRepublic)
- A terabyte too tight? Small businesses, beware the cloud storage ceiling (ZDNet)
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.