Hojoki: create a “river of news” type stream to keep track of cloud files and information

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With the proliferation of cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Docs, as well as social networking sites like Twitter to broadcast and share information, those who work in teams or collaborative settings might find themselves struggling to keep up with all changes that their teams might make (e.g. updates on important documents somewhere in the cloud, or relevant tweets or messages).

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just see all new activity related to a project in one place, in the manner of river of news type RSS feed? This, in a nutshell, is what web app Hojoki does.

How it works: it connects to various cloud services, including Dropbox, Google Docs, and Twitter (see list of cloud services below). Users can combine these to create individual ‘projects that will aggregate specific content from each cloud service (for example, specific folders on Dropbox or Google Docs, specific tags on Twitter feeds, etc.) and then share these with right members of their team.

But note that Hojoki will not grant access to actual files. ‘Sharing’ will Hojoki means sharing information that files were edited or created. (That’s not what it was designed to do). You will still need to grant access to each cloud service to others seperately, using the services themselves.

Hojoki screenshot2

Cloud services supported: Dropbox, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Twitter, Delicious, Beanstalk, Github, Highrise, and Ta-Da list. Other services currently in beta testing: CloudApp, Evernote, and Zendesk.

How free is Hojoki: the Public beta as of this writing is free. They are promising to always maintain a free version.

The verdict: this is a fantastic concept. Having all of the relevant information for a project or a theme in the same place is truly useful and just sheer genius. It is also great that for each cloud service, Hojoki will let you customize exactly what information to associate with each project (i.e. which Dropbox or Google Docs folder(s), which Twitter tag etc. Teams and collaborators have reason to rejoice.

But users will need to remember that Hojoki grants access information and not the cloud services themselves. I can imagine in my mind’s eye many users getting confused and frustrated because they may consciously or unconsciously be conflating the two.

What I found is that setting up projects in Hojoki was, at first, more confusing than I expected. The prettiness of the interface created the expectation that setting up projects was going to have an iPhone like simplicity; but it didn’t. But no matter, once you set up your first or second project you quickly get the hang of it.

Go here to sign up.