Mobile internet company, UC Web, has enabled cloud downloads in the latest update of the iPhone version of its web browser, UC Browser. This essentially means that users can opt to download files on UC Web's server and retrieve them at a later point in time. This function is particularly useful when a user needs to download a large file and doesn't have good connectivity or comes across something useful but doesn't want to incur data costs and can retrieve the file later when he's able to get Wi-Fi connectivity.
The company informed NDTV Gadgets that users can get 70MB of server space (with no expiry date) and 2GB of temporary space (valid upto 7 days) for storing files on UC Web's server, by signing up for a UC account using their email ID or Facebook ID. Users can store files larger than 70MB for seven days, after which a push notification informs them about the expiry of the temporary space. Whenever users encounter a downloadable file, they can go to the download manager and choose to download the video in the cloud on UC Web's servers. UC Web claims that the storage is secure and all files stored are only accessible to the user who has downloaded them.
Besides cloud downloads, the new release v8.9 of the browser also offers a 'watch offline' feature through which users can cache videos and watch it at a later time inside the browser. It also features a Download Manager that helps users manage their content in an efficient manner, more or less acting as a file browser, automatically sorting downloaded files in to pre-categorized folders such as music, video, images, and zip files. The download manager also alerts the user prior to the file download if that the file is not compatible with the iPhone, preventing the user from downloading incompatible files, saving on both data cost and time.
UC Browser also supports Gesture Control, which allows users to open a new tab or switch between multiple tabs with the swipe gestures. It also allows users to switch between Night-and-Day mode and shuffle the themes of the browser by shaking the device.
Commenting on the enhancements to UC Browser, UCWeb Chief Product Officer, He Xiaopeng said, "iOS is our second largest smartphone platform and we continuously strive to improve the mobile internet experience of our iOS users. We believe that the new features embedded in our latest version will keep iPhone users in step with the most current mobile and cloud technologies - something that all iPhone users have come to expect."
UC Web claims that the new version optimizes the mobile browsing experience for iPhone users by combining cloud based webpage compression technology and intuitive design which can reduce data traffic by up to 90 percent and offer users more control over content fetched from the internet. The browser is available free on Apple's iOS App Store.
We tried the cloud downloads feature and it worked for us without any hiccups. However, we were not able to access popular web-mail services like Gmail and Windows Live, which prompted us to switch to a modern browser. We've sought a clarification from UC Web, and will update the post with more information when we hear from them.
Following the controversy over Nokia routing HTTPS traffic via its own servers which led to the company issuing a clarification, we also asked UC Web how the browser handles HTTPS traffic. The company informed that users can choose to compress HTTPS traffic via UC Web's cloud server via the Thunder Mode, or use the direct mode to communicate directly with the HTTPS servers. It clarified that the cloud server does not store any of the users' information.