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Cloud tools organize your messy digital life

Bill Snyder | March 7, 2011
You've got e-mail, Gmail, online bank accounts, online bill paying, online backups, online photo albums and online docs. Wasn't technology supposed to make your life easier? New tools clean up the mess.

FRMINGHAM, 7 MARCH 2011 - When people moved from paper to digital files on a computer, it didn't take long to realize that you can get just as burdened by digital stuff as by hard copies. Before long, companies sprang up to sell utility programs to help you find and organize the stuff on your computer. We're going through a similar cycle right now, with many of us moving our digital assets to servers in the cloud, and finding that managing stuff scattered across a myriad of sites belonging to a myriad of companies can be terribly frustrating.

And sure enough, companies sensing a need to tame the chaos of the cloud are popping up with solutions.

Not all of these tools work particularly well, of course. But I've just returned from the DEMO Spring 2011 conference, where more than 50 startups and young companies showed off new and innovative technologies and business models. Here are two fledgling cloud tamers that caught my eye with solutions that will help you bring some order to your fragmented digital life.

Primadesk: Search Across Many Web Services

When your data is all on your computer, finding it isn't always simple. But if you've got a good desktop search program it's possible. Move all that stuff to the cloud, however, and where do you even begin a search?

That's a starting point for Primadesk, a free (for now) application that offers a single-sign on for 30 or so popular Web services (the number will likely grow). More importantly, Primadesk allows users to search across all of those applications, and drag and drop content from one to another — or down to the hard drive.

Searching really is simple. Enter a search term and you'll get a list of relevant content wherever it exists in Primadesk's universe of partner cloud applications. Although 30 is just a fraction of the world's cloud services, Primadesk works with many of the most popular ones, including Gmail, Google (GOOG) Docs, Flickr and so on.

Other features include backup functions, and the ability to see email across multiple services — which is a real plus when you can't remember which address you've used for this or that person or Web service.

Primadesk is still in beta, with a commercial launch expected later in the year. But you can try it now (for no cost) at Not all of its features are up and running yet. The ability to drag photos across sites including Picasa, Flickr and Facebook is coming soon, says CEO Srinivasa Venkataraman. Also coming is the ability to view messages from social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, in one place.

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