Octonius (free), a new iPhone app, is a client for managing Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive. Think of it like the Mail app, but for your files and notes instead of email accounts. File-management software is nothing new, but I’ve certainly never seen an implementation so simple and in the form of a mobile app only. The concept is spot on, and I’m sure many app developers are asking themselves, “Why didn’t I think of that?” The good news for competing app developers is Octonius didn’t get its search functionality right by a long shot, and search is the primary feature every user needs in a file-management client.
When you download and install Octonius on an iPhone, you don’t create a password-protected account, but you do offer up a name and email address. Then you authenticate connection to Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive, or any combination of those three services you choose.
Once your services are connected, Octonius shows you a simple homescreen with four choices: flow, collections, browse, and search.
Flow is essentially a file history, showing you a list of recently created, uploaded, or changed files and notes. Collections are similar to notebooks in Evernote, or folders on a computer, but they’re exclusive to Octonius. Say you have notes in Evernote about a project, and a documentation about the project saved in Google Drive. You can put (or really more like “tag”) those files so that they’re in a collection together. Browse is a way to look through your files in the way you’re used to on the originating system. And search launches a search feature.
Octonius in action doesn’t deliver a whole lot of action. It’s painfully slow. In testing, Octonius took three minutes to pull up an Evernote note with an image, and that was with a strong Wi-Fi connection. It took two minutes to pull up my Dropbox folder structure (I don’t keep any loose files in the primary Dropbox folder—it’s just subfolders). My guess is that Octonius is pulling data for the whole Dropbox account, rather than just the page I want because when I continue navigating my files from that main page that took two minutes to open, the next pages with actual files (and more subfolders) opened within seconds.
Swiping from right to left on any file pulls up options for appending notes to the file, adding it to a collection, putting a deadline reminder on the item, and sharing it through either email or the service at hand (Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive). I like these options and how accessible the buttons are to deploy them, but it took a little bit of trial and error to figure out what each corresponding icon did.
The search feature should be the crème de la crème of the whole app, but it’s a serious disappointment. It’s slow, too—though not as appallingly slow as the rest of the app. When I searched for “resolutions,” Octonius found Evernote notes that contained that word in the title of the note and the body, but it missed a file in Google Drive that had “Resolution” right in its file name and the body. I suspect it missed the file name because I did not use spaces around the word (the file name reads “131230_SIN_CO_GetOrg-Resolutions”), and I suspect Octonius missed it in the body copy because it wasn’t searching the body copy.
Given that Evernote has excellent search functionality, and that Google Drive’s and Dropbox’s are nothing to turn your nose up at either, I have to demand at least as savvy a search tool in an app designed to help me manage files stored in those services.
If your files and notes are a disaster, the Octonius app has the potential to help you feel better organized by giving you access to your Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive account from one place, but it doesn’t deliver in its current implementation. Don’t waste your time with this app until search and speed are vastly improved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc