How to install and use the cloudtag file sharing tool

How to install and use the cloudtag file sharing tool

Looking for a unique way to share non-sensitive files via the cloud? Look no further than cloudtag.

Cloud computing technology

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There are so many ways to share a file. You can use:

  • Email

  • Dropbox

  • Google Drive

  • iCloud

  • Nextcloud

  • OneDrive

The list goes on and on and on. Recently, while scouring through the Snapcraft store, I ran into one I’d never heard of—cloudtag. This cloud-based tool has one job and it does it pretty well. Said job is sharing files in such a way that anyone with the associated hashtag or link can then download that file.

My guess is your eyebrows are already raised. Read that statement carefully: Anyone with the associated hashtag or link can download the uploaded file.

In other words, this isn’t a service you would ever use for sensitive or private information. Of course, you can always create crazy hashtags and hope no one would ever guess what you’ve used. Even so, you’re not going to use this service for business information.

For non-sensitive information, however, cloudtag is pretty handy. It’s also clever and very easy to work with. Cloudtag is free (as is the service) and can be installed on Linux, macOS, and Windows.

I’m going to demonstrate how to use cloudtag. I’ll be demonstrating on Pop!_OS Linux, but the tool is the same, regardless of platform, although the installation does vary.

Before we get going, I will once again caution you to not use cloudtag for files that contain even a single line of sensitive data.

None. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

We clear?

Let’s continue on.

SEE: Serverless computing: A guide for IT leaders (TechRepublic Premium)

What you’ll need

  • Any operating system that supports snap packages (or macOS or Windows) 
  • A user with sudo privileges (for the Linux installation)

How to install cloudtag

Installing cloudtag on Linux is incredibly simple. Open a terminal window and issue the command:

sudo snap install

The installation will complete and cloudtag is ready to use.

How to share a file with cloudtag

Using cloudtag is very simple. Open the application and you’ll see the one and only window for the app (Figure A).

Figure A

The cloudtag main window.

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The cloudtag main window.

There are no preferences, no configuration options, and no sign-in for cloudtag. What you see is, quite literally, what you get.

To use cloudtag, type a unique tag after the # character. This will generate a new hashtag (so long as it’s unique) that will be locked for five minutes. Once you’ve created the new tag, you’ll see the bottom pane change to allow drag and drop (Figure B).

Figure B

Once the hashtag is accepted and saved, you can drag a file to the window.

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Once the hashtag is accepted and saved, you can drag a file to the window.

Within your desktop file manager, locate the file you want to share and drag it to the window. Once the file has been uploaded, the filename will be visible in the window and a lock icon will appear to the right of the tag (Figure C).

Figure C

We’ve uploaded a file with a unique hashtag.

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We’ve uploaded a file with a unique hashtag.

How to download a file with cloudtag

There are two ways for people to retrieve your file. The first is via the copied share link. To copy that link, click the copy icon (directly to the left of your new hashtag) and send the link (via email, messaging, etc.) to whoever you want to have the file. The recipient of that link doesn’t have to have cloudtag installed, as they can simply download the file from within a web browser.

The second method of downloading that file is by way of the cloudtag app. 

Anyone else that knows the cloudtag hashtag you created can type your new hashtag in the window. Once the hashtag is recognized, the associated file will appear and can be dragged into the desktop file manager (Figure D). 

Figure D

Retrieving a file from cloudtag, via hashtag.

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Retrieving a file from cloudtag, via hashtag.

That hashtag you created is permanent. However, after the five minute timeout, anyone can use it, so create those tags with a nod to caution.

And that’s all there is to using cloudtag. It’s a simple and elegant solution with one caveat that might make you think twice about using the tool. 

If I had one suggestion to make to the developers, I’d say your next big feature should be the ability to create private hashtags. That would require users to create an account and maybe even pay a small fee, but the privacy added to the service would be worth the effort.

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