Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage

Want your files to be everywhere you are? Throw away your thumb drives, and think cloud storage. With so many big companies clamoring to give you free online storage, cloud storage is hot. And, as with many online tools, there is no rule saying you have to stick to just one vendor.

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Amazon Cloud Drive5 stars

Amazon Cloud Drive provides 5 GB of free storage, and paid plans start at $10 per year. Amazon recently split their cloud service into two: Cloud Drive (for all file types) and Cloud Player (for music.) To make it even more confusing, all Cloud Drive users get a free 250-song subscription to Cloud Music. Cloud Drive is accessed via a desktop app (Mac or Windows) but does not have an official mobile app, while Cloud Player can be accessed via the mobile Amazon MP3 app.

Apple iCloud5 stars

Apple iCloud says they offer 5GB of free storage, but in reality the limits are hard to pin down. iCloud is an automatic backup and synchronization service for all your Apple products, including mail, calendar, iTunes, and photos. It works for all Apple products across all platforms, including Windows and Mac desktops, and iPhone/iPod/iPad mobile products. If you are an Apple fan, this is your best bet for seamless cloud storage, but it lacks some of the features that other cloud services provide, such as sharing across teams.

Box4 stars

The free Personal Plan from Box offers 5 GB of storage, file sharing links, mobile apps, and document editing in the cloud. Although their website targets businesses with their enterprise plans, the Box Personal Plan is simple enough (and powerful enough) to be a contender for your personal storage needs. On your desktop Box works in your browser. For mobile, apps are available for Android, iOS and Windows devices.

Dropbox5 stars

Although Dropbox starts with a smaller space allocation (2GB) you can earn up to 18GB of free by referring your friends to Dropbox. For every new user that signs up through your special Dropbox link, your free storage limit increases by 500MB. Install the Dropbox app (available for Mac, Windows, and most mobile platforms) and your Dropbox can be used just like a local drive. Built-in features include syncing across all your devices, a photo gallery, file sharing, link sharing and mobile phone camera uploads. Dropbox is my favorite cloud storage solution, and I would've given it six stars if I could have.

Google Drive5 stars

Google Drive (which offers 5GB of general purpose free space and1GB of Picassa storage) rolls up the previous Google Docs service into a more generic cloud product. On your desktop, it works just like Google Docs did, although there are apps (as an alternative interface) available for desktop and mobile. Collaboration is a strong suit of Google Drive (as it was with Google Docs) and Google Drive saves previous file versions (up to 100) for 30 days. If you've ever blown out a file (and who hasn't?) this is a feature you will really appreciate.

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Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!



Microsoft SkyDrive


Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Cloud Storage." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 7 Aug. 2012. Web. 29 Aug. 2015. < >.

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By . Originally published August 7, 2012. Last modified August 7, 2012.

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