3 Cloud Storage Services That Really Want Your BusinessApril 27, 2012 1:16 pm ·
This week has been particularly eventful for those in the business of cloud storage. Following Google’s release of Google Drive, other cloud service providers have responded with enhancements of their own.
“We might just have a cloud storage feature war on our hands, folks,” predicted TIME’s Jared Newman in a recent article.
After offering 5GB of free storage to all Google accountholders that try Google Drive, two others have made enticing offers of their own to get users to choose them instead. And as a result, people who are yet to tap into the cloud have three really appealing options as they make their way into the next generation of file sharing.
Google Drive Launches
As the forerunner of this cloud storage arms race, Google Drive has capitalized on its ubiquity by both capturing the attention of potential users and inspiring immediate reactions from competitors. Despite its disconcerting record of product slashing, patent hoarding, and vertically integrating, Google has somehow managed to avoid much of the fallout as it continues to diversify its service offerings.
With this week’s launch of Google Drive, the web giant placed other cloud storage services on notice, not only with its offer of five free gigs up front, but with its emphasis on project collaboration. By letting users “do more than just store [their] files,” Google’s incorporation of one of its Google Docs mainstays—attaching comments to documents—into Google Drive promises to be a major draw to people who want to do more than store and share files.
After testing the service, PC Magazine’s Mark Hachman observed the innate fit of project collaboration within a cloud storage service, concluding, “[C]ollaborating on a project, presentation or documents [sic] feels much more natural.”
Makes a Move
Responding to the Google Drive hype, Dropbox made announcement Friday, offering an incentive of its own. First, the company announced that it would now offer automatic photo uploading, making it easy for users to move photos that they already have on SD cards and flash drives into the cloud for safe keeping by placing them all in a personal “Camera Uploads” folder that users can access through their Dropbox accounts.
The announcement comes alongside the release of the latest Dropbox Android app, which will allow users to have photos they take with their phones to be uploaded automatically to the same private folder. To sweeten the deal even more, Dropbox is offering users that use the automatic photo service 500MB of extra storage for free.
But wait, there’s more. Creeping ever closer to Google’s 5GB offer, Dropbox is will expand that free storage to 3GB if users continue to use the photo upload service. Although that space is specifically meant for photos, the space remains available for use even if users delete the photos occupying it. However, the one drawback is that in order to utilize this extra space, files have to be uploaded from one’s phone, flash drive, or SD card. Dropbox won’t give users the free space if they try to upload files saved directly to their desktop.
Even though its major facelift took place before the official launch of Google Drive, Microsoft is no doubt feeling the pressure to maintain its appeal as consumers weigh their options. As many may remember, Microsoft chose to announce the improvements to its cloud service alongside a Windows 8 offering in late February.
Service extras included support for 2GB max file uploads through Windows Explorer, remote access through the SkyDrive website, as well as a “touch-first” experience for easy file access through a new Windows 8 app.
“For app developers, this means that, so long as your app supports opening and saving documents and photos, it will automatically support SkyDrive without any additional work,” Microsoft declared in the announcement.
Even still, Microsoft couldn’t help but hedge itself against Google Drive by adding a few more incentives this week. Although it’s for a limited time, Microsoft announced that existing Windows Live users can upgrade their storage from 7GB to 25GB for free. Paired with the ability to edit and create MS Office documents in an in-browser experience that SkyDrive already offered its users, Microsoft would appear to have an edge over a service like Dropbox.
However, it’s uncertain if such an effort will prove to be enough to keep people—especially those who already have a Google account—from going with Google Drive.
Do you already use a cloud storage service? If so, which one? If not, which of these three seems most appealing?
For more info on cloud storage services . . .
- Google: 5GB of Free Cloud Storage for Google Drive Users (experts-exchange.com)
- How to Choose Between Cloud Storage Services like Google Drive and Dropbox (techland.time.com)
- Microsoft SkyDrive cloud storage gets Dropbox-like features boost (techradar.com)
- 5 Alternatives to Google Drive (dirtech.in)