Today marks another step in the evolution of cloud services for consumers: Jolicloud, the Paris-based company that was one of the first to move on offering users a “cloud-based desktop,” today moved on another product that extends what users can do in the cloud even further, with the introduction of Jolicloud Me.
Available from today in private beta on Android, iOS and HTML5, Jolicloud Me is a kind of uber-organizer for all of your online assets, aggregating them and automatically sifting them into categories base on file types — eg, images, music, video and so on — and what’s especially nice is that it takes them from all of the disparate places that you may currently use for these services — and even those that you may have used once but have given up on over time.
For starters, the service is launching with integration for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and Picasa. Tariq Krim, the founder and CEO, says the plan is to add more sites and services to that list — including your email, similar to the kind of service that Attachments.me offers where it automatically saves your email attachements in a cloud-based folder. He adds that, for now, having Facebook and Twitter already loops in the bulk of recent sharing, since those are the two most used today: “the backbone of sharing right now,” he how he describes it, and also because they are open to other services like Spotify.
Why the move to personal organization? Krim said that it was because of customer feedback. “Being a desktop was not enough. People wanted to have data,” he said. “We found that there was no easy access to all of our data online so we built it.”
Although a lot of cloud startups these days are likened to Box and Dropbox, Krim points out that this is not where his company competes — yet: “Our goal is not to be Dropbox, but to help maintain a relationship or connection to data that you own. Everything you liked, received or generated in one place.” In fact, the company integrates with the files you store on services like Dropbox and other “cloudifiers” (his word, not mine).
It seems very obvious, and certainly the kind of service you can imagine Apple and Google and probably Facebook are looking to develop and offer themselves — if not try to buy Jolicloud to get there a little quicker. For now, the advantage is that Krim’s organizer is here now, and it traverses boundaries across services in ways that walled gardens from the likes of Apple or Facebook (sometimes breached via APIs) may not.
Jolicloud is of the “lean and mean” startup variety: just 15 people based out of Paris. And for now the service is envisioned as totally free to use. So what will the business model, longer term, be? Krim says it will likely be around a kind of insurance policy, or way of securing data for life.
“It’s too early to talk about this, but it’s clear that there is a lot of value for people who want to keep the data forever.” He says this is the kind of thing that Jolicloud could offer “potentially with partners”, or maybe going solo… That’s one to revisit for competitive threats in the future.
Krim said today at the London Web Summit that any attendee who wanted to give Jolicloud Me a spin should email him. While I won’t start putting out his email in this post, that at least is a sign that the private beta could be a little easier than you might think to try out, if you’re interested. For what it’s worth, in my little test of it, it’s a speedy little service that I could see myself using to help organize my pretty haphazard forays into different photo services and more besides.