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Hands on with Dropbox competitor SpiderOak Hive; first look at new Android app

Ian Paul | May 8, 2013
The cloud is great if you want the convenience of accessing your files everywhere.

Getting started

To get started with Hive, the easiest thing to do is to first sign up for an account and then download SpiderOak 5.0 for Windows. 

After the installation process, you have to sign in with your SpiderOak account credentials and then assign your PC a name. If you're a current SpiderOak user, the app will then sync information about your other PCs that have SpiderOak installed. You will also see a new SpiderOak Hive folder alongside your Dropbox and Google Drive folders inside Windows Explorer.

Using Hive

Using Hive is just like any other sync and sharing service: you drag and drop into the Hive folder any files you want to encrypt and sync across your network of devices. If you want to navigate to the folder inside Windows Explorer, its default location is C:/Users/[Your Username]/My Documents/SpiderOak Hive.

As part of Hive and SpiderOak 5.0 for Windows, the service includes a new right-click menu when you're inside the Hive folder. The menu feature quick access to SpiderOak's sharing- and version-history features.

Right-click any file outside of Hive and you get an option to back it up in SpiderOak. You can't use the right-click menu to share or back-up folders, but you can do both using the SpiderOak back-up app installed alongside Hive. The right-click menu is currently available for Windows, and similar features are also headed to Linux and Mac in the coming months.

Android application

Also coming soon from SpiderOak is a newly designed Android app written in HTML5--SpiderOak 2.0 for Android--that complements the new Hive features. It may raise some eyebrows to Create an HTML5 app in a time when apps written in native code are considered superior.

This is especially true since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in September that using HTML5 as the basis for Facebook's mobile apps was the biggest mistake the company ever made. Facebook's HTML5 apps were notoriously slow.

Oberman shrugs off these criticisms about HTML5. "Every situation is different," he said. "You've got to choose the technologies that work best for your use case." SpiderOak plans to launch the new app next week for devices running Android 2.3 and up.

SpiderOak's upcoming Android app is very similar to its newly revamped iOS version that launched in late April.

Despite its HTML5 underpinnings, the new SpiderOak for Android responded quickly to the touch. When the app first opens up, it shows your Hive folder contents by default. Following the current trend in app design, SpiderOak uses a left-hand navigation drawer that appears when you tap the upper left-hand corner.

At the top of the Navigation drawer, you'll see your Hive folder, followed by a list of your SpiderOak-connected PCs. As with the new iOS version, SpiderOak for Android includes a small icon next to each PC to denote whether it's a Linux, Mac, or Windows machine. Below your connected devices, you'll see access to ShareRooms, Favorites, Recent files and folders, and app settings.

 

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