Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Software Review: Cloud Pull

When Google suffered a major outage recently and temporarily lost customer files, I, like others, saw the signs of a storm coming. Cloud Pull helps you weather the storm and keep your cloud-based information backed up. It is a simple program that is simply indispensable.

Cloud Pull by Golden Hills Software is available directly from the developer and from the App Store and will backup both your Google Documents and your Google Calender for up to 10 different Google Accounts. It’s like Time Machine for Google. At any interval you select (every hour up to every day) Google Pull will download all your Google Documents and Google Calendar and keep them on your computer for a minimum of 30 days and indefinitely if you wish. Not only does it backup the current version but it also backs up any revisions. The folder structure is identical to that within your Google account, respecting which items appear in home and which are hidden.

Once downloaded to your Mac, you can then restore them directly from the off-line database Cloud Pull utilizes. This was great for when I was working offline on a plane. I had my entire Google Document collection available to me. Because Google Pull supports multiple accounts, you can have your browser open to one account while still reviewing documents in another account. It even supports QuickView so you can easily find the document you need. If you work offline with your documents, the program can’t put the document back into Google, however. You’ll have to upload the file to Google manually or copy and paste your changes. This isn’t the end of the world, but something to consider when you restore a document via Cloud Pull.

The UI is straightforward and includes a menu icon that uses green indicators to show your accounts are safely backed up and used a red indicator and exclamation point to warn you of problems. Usually it’s a temporary glitch, but I appreciate the early warning system and how similar it is to Apple’s Time Machine.

At $24.99, the program is a bit pricey, and of course you can manually download your Google Documents to back them up, but Cloud Pull makes it automatic so you are much less likely to lose data. While Cloud Pull doesn't back up your Gmail, this can easily be done via a third party email client and contact synchronization is built into Address Book. Cloud Pull fills a gap for those of us wanting easy backups of the "office style" documents we create on the web. If you use Google Documents for serious work, then you owe it to yourself to get this program. $24.99 is a small price to pay for piece of mind for when the cloud leads you astray.

Pros: Backups up your Google Documents and Calenders automatically and protecting your information in the cloud.
Cons: Can’t restore files back to Google

10 out of 10