Cloud Services – Quick Reviews

With the passage of time, as ‘everything is moving to the cloud’ (pardon my excessive use of this quote, but it does really sum things up), the use of cloud storage is becoming common, and there are dozens of such services on the cloud each with its own uniquity, now the questions that arise are, “which one of them is the best?” “which one should i go for?” “can we really trust them with our data?” e.t.c. So, in this post, I’m going to talk a bit about the most popular (or at least the ones i prefer) cloud services on the web.

Microsoft’s Skydrive(formerly Windows Live Folders): Microsoft’s own cloud, that offers about 7GB of free storage. Apps are available for Windows, MacOSX and Mobile Devices i.e. Android and iOS. These apps are well integrated once you fully install them and do offer a Sync feature, but the best thing about SkyDrive is that it serves well as both: “access-through-browser” service and when installed, it can sync files between your PC and SkyDrive very well too. The Web Interface is what most people love about Skydrive, and you can also create and to some extent, edit documents e.t.c. It has this own great photo viewer, e.t.c. So on the whole, Skydrive isn’t too bad.

Google Drive: Taking into account the factors stated in the description of skydrive, Google Drive is perhaps the only other such service that’s in any way close to Skydrive. Google however offers 15GB, and, the photos and documents don’t take up storage space on the google drive, so it doesn’t really matter, and in fact, the later feature is good. About the Document thing, they can be created through Google Docs. Interface is good and clean and it too offers applications so that you can sync between PC and Drive.

Ubuntu One: Ubuntu One, my favorite, unlike the above two, has apps for all three platforms, offers 5GB of Storage and has an awesome Sync. Despite how lame the phrase ‘awesome Sync’ sounds, i really mean it. I never really could ever make efficient use of cloud services until i tried Ubuntu One. Google Drive can be troublesome when installing and Skydrive’s Sync features were kinda limited to special folders back then, and neither offered the speed and everything that Ubuntu One did. It merely flows, but the major drawback about it is that the Web interface doesn’t really go beyond listing the files and offering a few basic features like ‘delete’ and ‘download.’ And you might find that it doesn’t run as smooth on Windows as it does on Ubuntu itself, but then that’s what it was made for.

Bitcasa: Bitcasa offers about 10GB of free storage, and has a nice and clean interface. It too offers applications for Windows, Mac, and phones, but my usage of Bitcasa never went beyond creating and account and installing its chrome extension. I never really tried its apps so i cant say much about it. However I created the account in order to use it like a DropBox, where i can throw files when i have to. However what I liked about BitCasa was it’s Chrome Extension that allowed you to directly download stuff to your bitcasa drive, and thus beside ever download button is a ‘download to bitcasa’ button.

Flickr: Flickr is a photosharing website, backed by Yahoo, which, according to what it says on its home, offers about 1TB of free storage space, which you might not ever run out of. So if you have to store huge masses of pictures. Go for Flickr.

CloudApp: CloudApp is the best cloud service that exists. It’s quick and amazingly user-friendly, but it’s only available for MacOSX.

These  were the cloud services I normally use and prefer. As for the Question about ‘trust’, well, all i can say is that Microsoft are what brought computers to us, and thus have been in the game for ages. So i doubt that they care about what a single user from millions in his 196th country is storing on their servers, and as for Google, well, you trust google with quite a lot already + u use their email services. Clouds like bitcasa can be a problem, as even I didn’t really hear anything about it. I just came across it somewhere and liked it; tried it. Flickr’s Yahoo’s.

 

Anas Ismail Khan

 

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