younited – An in-depth review
So, a lot of you have probably read my earlier post on some of the cool, but sadly not very widely heard of, stuff that F-Secure is doing besides their bread-and-butter anti-virus software. If you haven’t, check out A bunch of apps from F-Secure that you really need to know about
One of the apps I talked about in that article is younited by F-Secure, a cloud storage app very similar to Dropbox and Google Drive. Today I’m going to write a bit about what it does, how you set it up, and some of the neat features that makes is similar and at the same time different from the more mainstream alternatives.
First of all, younited is in an “early access” stage, i.e. you need to submit your email, and if you’re cool enough, they’ll let you in. It took like half a day for me to get my invite, and I suspect it’ll be similar for everybody else (after all, I’m very far from being consider “special audience”).
So, after you submit your email address, you’ll get an access code. After that, all you need to do is download the app, and log in with your email address and the access code as your password. After that, you’ll be required to change your password, and F-Secure has been kind enough to put in a little password strength meter in the app itself (I mean, they are in the computer security business after all).
After that, the app asks you to name your current device, because unlike all other cloud storage apps I’ve seen, younited has the added feature of sorting your stuff by source, which I find very handy indeed. It also asks you what kind of content you want to auto-sync to younited, your options are photos, videos, contacts and messages. The last two options are very interesting indeed, since I’m unaware of any app that does that natively, usually that part is handled by Exchange, iCloud or GMail these days, and I don’t think this app will in any way compete with these when it comes to primary storage, but it’s nice to have a backup/alternative (if you’ve ever used Microsoft Exchange to sync your text messages to your email, you know how cumbersome some of the alternatives can be).
After that, younited starts to look through your phone for the content you’ve selected for upload, and starts syncing it to the cloud. You’ll be presented with a small progress bar in the roll-down menu (at least on Android), and younited will return you to the primary UI.
Sadly, my life is so boring that I don’t have any really juicy pictures to involuntarily share with you, except for maybe that picture of some guys dancing shirtless behind a bar to YMCA. Go on, have that one on the house.
And there you have it, quite a normal user interface for a cloud storage application. The menu is also very neat and organized, and here you can also see the “sources”-tab I talked earlier about.
So, what makes this application different than for example Dropbox or Google Drive, except the contacts and message sync, and the sources tab. I mean, nobody would considering moving over to a new app just for those features if they already have all their stuff somewhere else?
Well, this is where the going gets interesting. As most of you know, F-Secure is a Finnish company, and they are pretty tough on privacy (watch their CRO talk about the NSA and cloud services here). So it might not come as a great surprise that younited stores all your stuff in datacenters in Finland. F-Secure also states that they will not share your stuff with anybody (i.e. advertisers, governments etc.), which, as I wrote earlier, should make your stuff quite a bit harder to get to for the NSA. Of course, this is no guarantee, but it better than definitely knowing the NSA and other government agencies has access to your stuff, which is the case with, for example, Google (that article also clearly shows that the NSA needs a Powerpoint Guru ASAP).
On top of all this, younited gives 10 gigabytes of storage for free to anyone that signs up before the end of 2013, without any attached strings like having you tweet about the app to earn another 50 megabytes of storage. This I think should be one of the better offers around, compared to the major alternatives at least. Also, younited is ad free.
younited seems to support all the major devices and platforms, currently the list is;
- iOS (iPhone & iPad)
- Windows Phone
Okay, so this is a neat cloud service, and it also packs quite a punch compared to the bigger kids on the block, but will it survive? Will people actually consider using it?
Actually, I’m not quite sure about that yet. I’m not going to switch over to younited completely, but I’ll definitely start using it for more private stuff, like my tax returns and other goodies. The main problem I see is not with its feature set (which is impressive indeed), but with the sharing aspect. I mean, most people already use either Dropbox or Google Drive to share folders and files with other people, and that feature is completely absent from younited at the time of writing this. That being said, the service is still “early access”, and I’ve seen talk about Dropbox integration on several sites, so that might be addressed in a future update.
So, my conclusion is; already really great service, and if F-Secure can pull off the Dropbox/Google Drive integration, we’re going to see a real winner here!
I would also like to add that I have no affiliation with F-Secure in any way, and I wrote this article without receiving any form of compensation from anybody.