Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Google Drive, SkyDrive and Dropbox: Which cloud storage app is best for you?

Google Drive, SkyDrive and Dropbox: Which cloud storage app is best for you? We keep hearing that the cloud is the future: it’s where we stream all our music and movies from, and even our games. But it’s also a handy way of storing your own files, not just the ones you rent by the month from the likes of Netflix and Spotify. We took a look at three of the most popular cloud storage services around: Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and Dropbox. Read on to find out which one is for you. Google Drive (Web, Mac, PC, Android, iOS) Considering all the features you get, Google Drive is remarkable value (5GB Free, 1TB – £31.65/month, 100GB – £3.17/month, 25GB – £1.59/month): not only does it let you store all your files, you can write, store and edit documents and spreadsheets in the cloud too. And if you’ve got a Google account, you’ve already got it. Like Dropbox, you can download an app that syncs files with your Mac and PC, though you get a bit more storage for free. It works like a dream on Android phones and tablets too, though the iOS app is unfortunately still a bit unstable, and crashes quite often. Best for: Android users, people with personal or work Gmail addresses, those who don’t use Microsoft Office. Microsoft SkyDrive (Web, PC, Mac, Android, iOS) Microsoft SkyDrive is sometimes overlooked, but it’s every bit as accomplished as its rivals, and crucially, it offers the most storage for free (7GB free, 100GB – £32/year, 50GB – £16/year, 20GB – £6/year). It packs in some useful, exclusive features, such as the ability to fetch anything from a computer with SkyDrive installed, even if it isn’t in your SkyDrive folder, and acts as an easy and secure backup to everything you create in Microsoft Word. It also comes built into Windows Phone, which makes it a no-brainer for mobile Microsofties. Best for: Windows Phone and Microsoft Office users. DropBox (Web, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, BlackBerry) While Dropbox is probably the best known of all three cloud storage services, it’s not the cheapest – you get just 2GB free (500GB – £32.11/month, 200GB – £12.84/month, 100GB – £6.42/month) to call your own. But it’s a very polished service, with lots of extra features (auto-uploading your phone’s camera images to a private folder), easy to generate sharing links, and the syncing app for PC and Mac is just superb: it looks just like a regular folder in the file explorer, but small icons by each file indicate what’s been uploaded and what’s whirring away at the moment. It’s also easy to get free space – buy a new HTC Android phone and you’ll get 25GB worth free for two years, while each friend you will refer will nab you an extra 200MB of space. And if you’re on a BlackBerry, it’s the only game in town. Best for: Android and BlackBerry users, those who have to share files publicly www.tell-me-first.com

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