What happens when you combine social-networking tools like Twitter and Facebook with cloud-based services from Google and make them all accessible from one desktop service? The new program called MultiMi (download) gives you access to all those accounts and lets you share items to contacts across the board using drag and drop.
"The objective of the product itself is to give them one centralized location to receive and manage their information," said Eidan Apelbaum, CEO of MultiMi's publisher, ZBang It.
Pronounced "multi me," the Windows-only program supports a wide range of services out of the box. Once you install it, it will ask you to connect accounts organized by category. Messages includes Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, your Exchange server, and an option for a generic e-mail account. Social covers Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Events is currently limited to Google Calendar, Photos works with your locally stored pictures, Picasa and Flickr, while YouTube is the only video service supported. The Documents section talks to Google Docs, Box.net, and your local files, while Chat will let you use Facebook Chat and Google Chat from the MultiMi interface. Google+ will be included once Google releases the API, said Apelbaum.
The program's interface perhaps plays a bigger role in its usability than with other programs because MultiMi is attempting to combine half a dozen services that were never intended to be integrated. In terms of organization it succeeds handily, with a mobile-style approach that emphasizes visibility and single-clicking to dive deeper.
The interface also brings to the program a smart desktop-only feature: drag and drop. You can not only drag items like photos and documents from the desktop to MultiMi--you can also drag items within MultiMi itself. You can use it to share contacts, easily upload files from your desktop to Flickr or Google Docs, or send tweets via e-mail to people not on Twitter.
MultiMi also has an additional level of security incorporated into the program, provided by AVG LinkScanner's reputation-based technology. This means that all links shared across all your services are scanned and verified as safe when you click on them, before they resolve in your browser.
MultiMi will probably have the broadest appeal for Google fanatics, since when you add support for one Google service, it asks you if you'd like to include support for all the other Google services, including YouTube, simply checking the appropriate box.
The program is still in beta, of course. You can't yet share Facebook calendar items to Google Calendar, for example, and there's some awkwardness in attempting to share items across services that aren't allowed to be shared. There are other limitations, too, such as the fact that some of the program appears to be browser-powered, which is confusing. Isn't the browser precisely what MultiMi is designed to get us away from?
Even bigger than that, what remains to be seen is whether large-scale content aggregation will appeal to a broad segment of people. Zbang It appears to be looking for broad appeal beyond the expected geeky early adopter, with Facebook Chat support and some promotional imagery on its site depicting colorful, Crayon-style slides and non-techie looking people doing outdoorsy activities.
MultiMi is an interesting idea and would have been a major leap a year ago. Now, however, with Google services receiving tighter unification with the debut of Google+, some of MultiMi's appeal has been dulled. However, if it can provide an experience that mimics the best tools and default features of those it incorporates, along with its content aggregation, it might just gain that larger foothold it wants.