Tame your cloud storage services

Attachments.me connects Gmail to Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and Box

Cloud storage services are fantastic. They enable us to access our files across multiple devices and increase our productivity.

But managing different cloud storage services independently can be frustrating. Like many real estate pros, I have files stored in Dropbox and Google Drive. If I want to share photos from my Dropbox account with a client or colleague, the task has to be executed via Dropbox. In other words, I have to launch Dropbox and share the photos from the application.

The more cloud storage services I utilize, the more challenging streamlining my data becomes.

Attachments.me is an app that connects Gmail with Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and Box. The app makes it super easy to search and share attachments from these cloud storage services directly through Gmail.

Attachments.me is available as a browser extension (Chrome and Firefox) and an iPhone app. However, the application truly delivers unique value in the desktop browser. Authorizing your Gmail account and connecting your cloud storage services in the Web app enables you to quickly search and sort attachments, which is cool. However, the real power of the application resides in Gmail.

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Installing the app adds Attachments.me buttons to the Gmail tool bar and composition window. Clicking the button in the composition window allows you to attach files directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and Box. The process couldn’t be easier and is a perfect solution for Gmail users. It is worth noting that Attachments.me is secure and is "TRUSTe"-certified.

There is also an iPhone app that can be downloaded from the app store. Unfortunately, there is no native iPad app available at this time. The app is pretty straightforward and allows you to search, share and upload attachments to the cloud. The app features a built-in mail client, and attachments are time-stamped, which can be useful. You can also manage your cloud storage services from inside the app by adding or removing services.

Attachments.me also features automatic filing rules. Creating the rules is similar to setting up automatic filters in "IFTTT." For example, you can create a simple filing rule that states: "If a photograph is delivered to my inbox from a particular email address, then automatically save (file) the image to my photography folder in my Dropbox account."

You can utilize all types of files and even add conditions. Conditions allow you to refine the filing process by fine-tuning the actions. For example, when an email subject line contains a certain phrase, a specific action is triggered.

Screen shot showing Attachments.me’s "Add a New Rule" feature.

Unfortunately, in my testing, the automatic filing took longer then expected. In some cases it took up to 30 minutes to execute the rule. This was the only instance where the app failed to meet my expectations.

If your brokerage or business runs the enterprise edition of Google Apps, Attachments.me is available as a free download through the Google Apps Marketplace. Installing and activating the application on your domain will enable all of your users to utilize the app.

Tom Flanagan is the director of information technology at Residential Properties Ltd. in Providence, R.I. You can contact him at tflanagan@residentialproperties.com or @tflan on Twitter.

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