Cloud Storage - Which Service is The Best?

Cloud Storage - Which Service is The Best? Ever since mid-2008, cloud computing, cloud hosting and cloud storage have entered the mainstream and have been very much on the rise. This is backed up from statistics in Google trends, which show a steady increase in search volume worldwide.

 In line with this, the number of companies offering cloud computing services has also increased dramatically; there is now a plethora of companies offering cloud services - particularly cloud storage.

 With this dramatic increase, it has become more difficult to pick out the 'best of the bunch' so to speak. This article examines 5 of the top cloud storage providers in order to determine which service is the best.

 Google has become a word synonymous with the internet, so it seems appropriate that the search giant's cloud storage service - Google Drive - is the first to be examined.

 Google initially introduced the Google Drive in April 2012. The basic free-of-charge service offers 5GB of free storage, which is adequate without being mind-blowing. For those with loftier storage ambitions, you can expand this to 25GB or 100GB for $2.49 or $4.99 respectively. Maximum capacity actually goes up as far as 16TB for a whopping $799.99 per month, although this is unnecessary for the majority of people.

 The maximum file size you can upload to Google Drive is currently 10GB.

 One of the features that Google Drive has over its competitors is the integration with other Google Apps such as Gmail and Google Docs.

 There is currently a Google Drive Android app to streamline document access when on the move, although the current lack of iOS and Windows may be disappointing for some users; that being said, said apps are expected to arrive shortly.

 Although not yet comparable to Google, the name Dropbox is becoming more of a household name.

 Launched in 2008, Dropbox has been lauded for its user-friendly design and ease of use. Upon first glance, the free account seems disappointing when compared to rival services. Initially users will be granted just 2GB of free space, which is frankly unimpressive. However, users do have the ability to expand this up to 18GB by referring new users; each new referral is worth 500mb of free storage space (up to the aforementioned 18GB).

 100, 200 and 500GB packages are available for $9.99, $19.99 and $49.99 respectively; though it is worth noting, you can save 17% on these figures by opting to pay annually. Perhaps even more impressively, the premium accounts can still be expanded free of charge through referral (again, up to 18GB). An extra $3.99 per month will ensure that Dropbox backs your files up online to prevent loss of data through accidental deletion.

 Dropbox also provide cloud storage to corporate clients. The pricing of this ranges from $795+, depending on the number of licences required.

 There is currently mobile integration for Android, iOS, Blackberry and Amazon Kindle Fire.

 Cloud Storage may not be the first service that comes to mind if somebody were to mention Amazon, but the Amazon Cloud Drive is one of the most popular cloud storage services on the market today.

 Amazon launched its Cloud Drive in March 2011 (it arrived in the UK roughly 18 months later). The initial free storage level - similar to Google Drive - is 5GB, although this can be upgraded for roughly 50?? per GB up to 1000GB (just short of 1TB). So for those who dislike math, 500GB of storage would equate to $250 annually.

 At this point you may be asking yourself exactly what makes the Cloud Drive stand out from the crowd (cloud?). Well it offers, as you would expect, mobile integration with its Amazon Kindle Fire HD device, although Dropbox also does that, so it can't really be considered a USP (Unique Selling Point).

 Amazon's USP is that it doesn't count amazon purchases (such as MP3's, eBooks and video files) towards its storage limits. This is a big bonus, especially if you regularly purchase digital media from Amazon. On top of this, it allows you to stream your stored music files free of charge through the service, which for some people will be quite the positive.

 It is undeniable that the Apple iCloud is very similar in approach to Amazon's Cloud Drive. The pricing is almost identical and the USP is a slight variation on the same concept.

 The iCloud offers 5GB free storage.

 Purchases made through iTunes do not count towards your overall storage limit and, as you'd imagine, iCloud integrates smoothly with Apple products.

 This list couldn't be complete without Microsoft representation and the final entry on the list is just that, Microsoft's cloud storage service - SkyDrive.

 Never a company to be outdone, Microsoft's 7GB of free storage represents the highest amount of free storage space out of all the entries on the list. Expansion pricing is typical at roughly 50?? per GB, available

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