Productivity

App Spotlight: KiteDesk aggregates your cloud accounts and social media

Gmail. Dropbox. Facebook. Twitter. If you're like many busy business folks, you're frequently bopping back and forth between these and other cloud/social-media services. And if you have multiple accounts for any of them, the hassles only increase.

KiteDesk aggregates all your cloud and social services under one roof. That means you need to use only one iOS and/or Web app to view all your feeds, email messages, files, contacts, and more.

I did most of my testing on an iPad, though you can just as easily sign in via your Web browser. There's no cost to use KiteDesk (and no advertising that I can see, so I'm not sure what the revenue model is here); all you do is give permission for it to access one or more Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and/or Yahoo accounts.

Obviously the more accounts you add, the more practical KiteDesk becomes. The interface lets you switch between "streams" (i.e. everything from your social networks), messages (of the email variety), people, events, and documents. For any given category you select, you see everything from all of your connected accounts. That's the "aggregator" part of the equation.

And that's where KiteDesk can save you time and clicks: instead of having to log into, say, your three different Twitter accounts, you can see them all in one place. Instead of having to open your Google Drive and Dropbox accounts in search of a particular file, you can search both right here.

There's just one problem with the service, and that's how it presents everything. On my iPad, for example, streams are unnecessarily large: I can see only two items at a time without scrolling.

Facebook and Twitter feeds fare a bit better, often squeezing one or two additional items onto the screen, but overall I think KiteDesk needs to do a better job leveraging the available space.

Same goes for the Web-based version, which shows you a rather randomized array of large tiles, each representing a Facebook post, tweet, etc. The inbox and file views are a little better (on the Web, anyway), relying on a more traditional list.

Ultimately, I found KiteDesk's interface a little too busy for my tastes, a little too overcrowded, but if you're willing to look past that, you may find it a great tool for managing multiple accounts and keeping tabs on all your stuff. I've yet to find anything else quite like it.

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