Review: CloudMagic for iOS and Android by David L. Tran

Emails, endless emails hitting our inboxes. We are constantly flooded with a mixture of messages, “to do”s, inquiries, advertisements, and spam; it’s a wonder we get anything done at all. For those who use their inbox as a “To Do” list, you are likely constantly skimming and searching for that message you saw a few days ago, a reminder of that thing you were supposed to do. While Gmail is one of the few web-based email clients to successfully integrate search functionality into their application, there has yet to be a great solution for those using corporate email clients such as Exchange, Office 360, Outlook, and other IMAP services. That is precisely where CloudMagic comes in.

CloudMagic initially started in 2012 as a “personal data search engine”, a service which searched across email, contacts, files, calendars, and cloud services. The service worked well, however when the company found that 80% of their users were primarily using it to search their mailboxes (1), they shifted their focus to email and released their mail application in November 2013 to rave reviews and a rapidly growing user base. According to their founder, Mr. Rohit Nadhani, “The company has the singular focus of making you productive on the most used app on your smartphone – the email app.”

How does CloudMagic work?

You download the app and enter in your credentials for the inboxes you would like to connect. Their servers index and build a searchable database of those emails. This differs from traditional email clients, which download and index your messages on your computer, phone, or tablet while using up valuable system resources. If an email isn’t found it searches the server where emails are saved. What CloudMagic does is make searching that information significantly faster by keeping much it in the cloud. A reasonable analogy of this concept is searching Wikipedia on the web versus downloading all of Wikipedia onto your computer, then using the search function on your device to search your device as it processes everything over again.

What about security?

According to their privacy policy (2): “Your data is yours and therefore only read by you. Neither do we read it, nor share with anyone else”. They use a service known as OAuth whenever possible, so they never know what your password is, and in the event that OAuth isn’t possible, they encrypt the data on their servers before being stored. Currently, only one month of encrypted emails are stored on their servers and future versions of CloudMagic will only use their servers to push email to your device without holding onto them.

According to their founder, Rohit Nadhani, “We are not going to make money off your data, ever,” (3). The company plans to monetize by expanding into a freemium model in the near future and in email conversation with Mr. Nadhani, he emphasized their core email service will always remain free.

Fine. Tell me how it performs.

Searching in CloudMagic is fast. In testing it was significantly faster than using both the Gmail App and the iOS Mail app (which searches the server) to find messages via the university Exchange server. If I’m searching for a name, it quickly highlights both a contact person and where their name was mentioned in emails instantly. In our testing we were able to find information we needed within seconds.

The user interface is clean and simple. There aren’t any silly widgets, extra icons or features that you don’t need and the interface is whittled down to the bare basics (sometimes to a fault, more on that later). There is a simple swipe down to refresh and a search bar sits firmly at the top. For power users, the added functionality of Evernote integration will allow you to save emails directly into your Evernote using their card system. Currently you can also connect your Salesforce, Zendesk, Pocket, Trello, and MailChimp accounts to their app. Many more cards are on the way with the possibility of Wunderlist, Anydo and Asana app integration in the future.

As always, there are some minor issues that may need to be addressed in future updates. The default reply button is “Reply All” with the “Reply” button tucked away into the menu next to it. The app was meant for collaborators and teams, but having the option to change the default setting would be nice, especially after a few near misses in group emails. While the interface is wonderfully simple, a few more options under the settings pane would have also been helpful. The passcode lock option for the application is a much appreciated security feature, but there’s not much else in terms of customization beyond that.

Cloud Magic is a free download via Google Play for Android and the iTunes App Store for iOS.








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