Pogoplug is based on a classic combination of remote data storage and software that helps combine multiple devices into a common “personal cloud” and manage user data via a web browser. A free subscription provides 5 gigabytes of storage for your documents whereas special software helps access it from mobile devices and PCs. You may want to create a free account for getting to know the capabilities of the service and then switch to a paid subscription to have more storage space for your data and access special tools that can add your local PC disks and NASes to the cloud.
This service is integrated by several NAS makers into their products, the CloudStation being a good example. We are talking about accessing data stored on the NAS from anywhere via a web browser, special utility or Android/iOS-based client software. Everything is going to work irrespective of whether you are accessing the NAS via your local network or over the internet. The service is very easy to use as you don’t have to set up anything. You only create your user account and add devices to it. The CloudStation can automatically pass through a router without your having to set up port translation or anything.
To access your NAS remotely, you go to the page http://cloudstor.pogoplug.com/. The interface is available in English and Spanish. You type in your login (email address) and password, and all the NAS folders for which this server is enabled become accessible in your web browser. You can also enter your Facebook credentials for the Pogoplug service to interact with Facebook.
Here, you can upload files to shared folders, move them across multiple devices, remove and copy them. When downloading a folder, its contents are automatically archived into a ZIP file. You can also upload files into a shared folder by sending them via email to the service’s address.
Besides accessing each document in each folder, you can access media files via catalogues based on the file type: Jukebox for music, Gallery for photos, and Cinema for videos. Files are sorted by tags in the first catalogues and by date in the other two. You can only play files of Flash or HTML5 compatible formats via your web browser. Other formats have to be transcoded on the NAS. You can monitor this process on a special page. The NAS’s processor being not very fast, it takes over 5 hours to process a 1.5-hour long MPEG4 video.
Pogoplug makes it easy to share documents with friends. You just select files and folders and use the Sharing menu to specify email addresses for sending a personal link to the selected files. The link will work for 2 weeks. A more secure method can be used if your friends have their own Pogoplug accounts. If you’ve provided your social network credentials in your Pogoplug account, you can publish your files on your social pages with a couple of mouse clicks.
The Active Copy feature allows you to sync your cloud folders in the background. If you've got PogoPlug Drive installed on your PC, you can copy your local folders to the cloud.
Besides playing multimedia files in a web browser or mobile gadget, this service can stream them via DLNA to compatible local players (Sony's PS3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 are supported officially and other devices may be compatible as well, but Windows 7's WMP couldn’t work with that feature). This works for the entire device rather than for individual folders. Indexing (and transcoding, if necessary) covers most of popular file formats.
Printers are supported, too. These can be local USB printers or LAN printers. We couldn’t check this out, however, due to the lack of a compatible model.
The internet portal provides access to the local setup interface of the CloudStation as well as to the integrated BitTorrent client.