I will admit that I was tempted to dismiss the Jolicloud App of simply jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon. But you know what? I’ve reconsidered. While I feel ambivalence to certain features, Jolicloud’s “App Store” really shows some possibility. And yes, it really does appear to have a ton of users in the Chrome Web Store.
Jolicloud’s interface is very similar to Chrome, almost to the point of redundancy. Like Chrome, Jolicloud presents your web apps as icons lined up in rows across the screen. To access your apps, you simply click on them, and it will take you to the web page from which they are hosted. There is a search box on the top, a bit like Google’s Omnibox, but not as integrated into the web as Chrome.
The sharing aspect of the Jolicloud app doesn’t work for me. While I understand how powerful sharing things can be on the internet, it would be more helpful if Jolicloud users could share their favorite applications outside the Jolicloud user base so others — perhaps their Facebook friends or Twitter followers — could be exposed to more web based applications.
But click on the green “+” on the upper left corner and then you’ll see a big difference in Jolicloud’s app store. As much as I love Chrome, I think Jolicloud’s app market is sleeker and easier to navigate and gives a better impression of the possibilities of cloud computing. While Chrome’s web store is a bit easier on the eyes with its black on white color scheme and larger icons, it seems to always showcase the same apps. How is that supposed to help me see the potential of cloud applications?
Jolicloud’s store emulates Ubuntu’s software center. There is no advertising, no seeing the same applications blinking before you trying to grab your attention. It simply lists what’s available by category and gives you the information you need to determine whether the particular application would be of use to you. With a click, I can learn about the most recent apps for any chosen category.
The more cloud services that are brought to people’s attention, the more viable the “cloud alternative” becomes and Jolicloud has a generous offering. In fact, there are services I learned about through Jolicloud that I couldn’t find searching the Chrome Web Store. The Writing Nook app is such an example. Interestingly enough, Writing Nook even incorporates the Google App Engine, but it is nowhere to be found in the Chrome Web Store.
Jolicloud does include downloadable applications in its store which does confuse things and makes the cloud enthusiast in me bristle a bit, but it provides plenty of web apps, web apps that likely wouldn’t have been brought to my attention otherwise. That alone makes Jolicloud for Chrome worthwhile. That explains why there are so many users of it.