December 2nd, 2012
Cloud storage let’s you store file off in the network cloud, making them easily accessible between computers and devices. Some, like Dropbox and iCloud, may also provide automatic synchronization between systems. That means, take a photo on an iPhone and it automatically transfers to the cloud and then to your iPad and your Mac.
- Amazon Cloud Drive: Desktop Apps. 5 GB free.
- Dropbox – 2 GB free but up to 18 GB if you refer others to their serve. Provides a folder on your computer – drag files to it and then magically sync to your other computers running Dropbox.
- Microsoft Skydrive – 7 GB of free storage.
- Google Drive – 5 GB free. Set up a docs.google.com account and then download the Google Drive application. Also auto syncs your documents on docs.google.com to your computer.
- Apple iCloud – 5 GB – but your iTunes purchased music does not count in that total, nor apparently, mobile photos you upload to your iCloud photo stream. Works only for Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac), and works for iTunes on Windows to access your music.
I use a bit of everything, depending on what I am doing. Dropbox has been my primary file transfer/sync tool while working on multiple projects on two Windows PC and two Macs. I just drag and drop files into my Dropbox and they magically appear on the other computers. Dropbox is also used by Vimeo for video uploads – you can setup a Dropbox subfolder and files that you add to your folder are then automatically set up on Vimeo.
Skydrive and Google Drive work similarly. A magic folder on your system is auto synchronized as needed. Just drag files into the folder and sync happens.
Most of these have versions that work on smart phones and tablets too.
Between the services, I have 37.5 GB of free cloud storage, although I use only a tiny amount of all that. Each service has paid storage options too that can quickly expand the storage available to you.