I have used Hojoki during its private beta period but now it’s already in public beta so you can sign up and try it yourself. My first reaction is that it has a weird name. Well… not really, I know its Japanese but I learned more about on Hojoki’s about page. The name originated from a popular Japanese book which revolutionized how people thought about the flow of life way back in 1212. Hojoki aims to revolutionize how people think about the flow of work.
Take note that Hojoki is still work in progress. When I was testing it, some of the features are not yet perfect. For example, some of the connections to 3rd party apps may not work. This is expected because it is still in beta but quality of apps integration should be better after beta. Due to a number of API Hojoki has to support I can’t imagine how they are going to keep all those apps working 100%.
You can experiment on how you may use it. On my experience, Hojoki could be a great tool to aggregate all your online content (like a back-up) where you can search your tweets, bookmarks and files in one place. If you have a team of bloggers working on an article, setting up a Workplace where you can share references could be a better way to collaborate on real-time.
Think Hojoki as a FriendFeed for your cloud apps and you can imagine fun ways to use it.
Hojoki make all your cloud apps work as one and by that it means that you get one fee of all your productivity apps and other social apps. It gives you a central hub to see what’s happening on these apps so you could monitor everything in one place. It saves you time by eliminating the need to manage different tabs. You can create several workplaces where you can discuss everything happening on that workplace. For example, a developer workplace may include Pivotal Tracker, Github and Basecamp. If you are managing a project, you can easily glance on the activity streams and get a general idea on what’s happening with the development without looking at different web apps. In a way, you get to monitor all their activities without even spying them.
Business owners can also use Hojoki to discuss work and manage files to keep your team members well-informed. A business workplace in Hojoki would likely have Google Drive for online documents, Dropbox for file-sharing , Ta-da Lists for to-do or task management, and Google Calendar for event scheduling. These are just a few examples of different apps that you can connect in Hojoki that you integrate to work as one.
Furthermore, Hojoki can give you updates. Several apps provide direct link to shared content. You can see who shared it, what was shared and when. I’m not sure if Hojoki will also support location-based services in the future to support where.
Collaboration is made possible on the activity streams. You can assign an application to a workspace and you can further define what can be shared to these workspaces. For example, you can define a shared folder for Dropbox that you wish to share to your Hojoki workspace. Only the updates on your shared folder will appear on that workspace. When you add files on your private folders, they will not appear in Hojoki.
Tagging and mentions are also supported; You can use them to filter content and drill down to specific items.
At the moment there are 20 supported apps in Hojoki:
- Basecamp classic
- Google Calendar
- Google Contacts
- Google Drive and Docs
- Google Reader
- Pivotal Tracker
- Ta-da Lists
And to make it better, future support for these web apps are planned:
As you can see, both iOS and Android version are virtually the same.
I find the mobile app quite limited in functionality. You can only refresh the activity streams, connect apps and reply the shared items but you can’t search. It’s great for knowing what is happening and reply to current updates but you can’t do much with the mobile app now. I hope they include more features found in the web app to the mobile app.
Hojoki Alternatives / Competition
Cloud aggregation is getting momentum because there are so many things you can on the web and keeping your files in one place is almost impossible to do now that we are almost living in the cloud. It only takes another app to make all these data source connected and linked together to make it more manageable.
Hojoki is doing something more than just aggregating data. It is giving users a new way to work with cloud apps but several apps like busyflow.com and 300.mg are doing almost the same thing. So far Hojoki is leading with the most number of supported applications and appears to be the most popular.
In summary, I would like to see more up-coming cloud apps to be integrated with Hojoki. I fancy that Hojoki would support moving or copying files from one source to another but Hojoki can only “broadcast” activities now. You can’t manage the files that you are working on connected cloud apps yet. Some services actually do this already so the talented team in Hojoki might as well do the same in the future. It seems that the focus now is to support more web apps. If they plan to add more management features, it could be a killer-app for everyone.
It’s good to know that Hojoki will always have a free version. I hope the freemium business model will work for them and I look forward to see better ways to manage cloud apps using services like Hojoki.