Hojoki Launches Mobile Apps to Cut Through Cloud Confusion

Keeping track of all your cloud-based activity can become a bit of a headache, with new services consistently popping up and vying for attention. Google announced Drive this week, adding to the potential for cloud fatigue. But German startup Hojoki, which today announced its iPhone and Android mobile applications, is hoping to make managing multiple cloud-based productivity apps easier, by aggregating activity streams from some of the most-used services under one roof.

Feed aggregation isn’t new; startups of yore like FriendFeed and Socialite aimed to collect all a user’s social networking feeds in a single place, and make them actionable, too. Hojoki wants to do the same thing, but with a focus on team collaboration and productivity tools instead of consumer-focused social networks. Founder and CEO Martin Böhringer believes the different focus will help Hojoki succeed at aggregation where others may have failed to truly impress.

“The foundation of Hojoki results from research at university,” he said. “We looked at team collaboration and on how to support ad hoc workflows both from a technological and organizational viewpoint. In the end, we decided to develop our own tool based on activity streams.”

Hojoki’s approach focuses on time-saving in situations where time-saving is more valued; users don’t necessarily want to minimize the time they spend on social networks. People using cloud-based collaboration tools for work, however, are likely much more interested in keeping their workflow as streamlined as possible.

Integrations included in Hojoki include Google Docs and Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Zendesk and Highrise to name a few, and the team says more are planned. Hojoki users can view updates from all these services in their central dashboard, and also have team members discuss activity as it hits the service. Böhringer says that the team focused on apps they love first, and are now working on building out support for additional apps based on requests from their user community. Topping the list right now are Basecamp and Trello, which the team is hard at work on tying into Hojoki.

When asked whether Hojoki sees all-in-one productivity hubs like Podio that try to provide similar services, Böhringer said he thinks what they offer will appeal to those already entrenched in various unconnected services.

“We feel that these solutions can certainly work for some people,” he told us. “However, Hojoki brings in the apps you already you know and love. We just integrate what you already use, no need to learn something new or change the basis of your workflow, just add a collaborative and informative layer on top of it.”

Hojoki provides its service free while it’s in beta, and plans to introduce tiered paid plans for “heavy collaborators” in the future. For users that want to keep tabs on multiple tools, this may make sense, but it could also be a hard sell given that people are already likely paying a subscription fee for each of the services individually. Adding another layer, even a unifying one, that costs an additional fee could seem excessive to some, but Böhringer believes that Hojoki’s “very reasonable” prices will be enough to convince people to pay for what it has to offer.

The new native apps for Android and iPhone released today are the result of user requests, but Hojoki also offers its site as an HTML-based mobile app. That ensures it’s usable anywhere people plan to use it, which is a good strategy given that the aim is to put all of a user’s productivity feeds in one convenient location. Hojoki clearly has the right plans in place to broaden it’s appeal in terms of listening to its user community, and the area of cloud-based app proliferation is a smart one to address with a lot of growth potential. The challenge long-term will be in convincing a significant number of users they need a service to manage their services.

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