Cloud Storage: Five Alternatives Compared

By on April 26, 2012, 11:27 PM

It's cloud storage week apparently, with Dropbox rolling out an update that improves how its users can share things, Microsoft's SkyDrive getting dedicated desktop apps and a revamped feature set, and Google Drive finally making its long-awaited debut. The market suddenly got much more competitive.

Although there are many more options out there, some serving specific niches, we've hand-picked some of the most established and consumer-friendly cloud storage services and took them for a spin to see how well they stack against each other. We've included a comparative table for an at-a-glance overview of each service's strong points, while a more detailed description should give you a better idea of which one fits your needs.

Read the complete article.




User Comments: 30

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lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I fail to see how Dropbox wins on ease of use? Both SkyDrive and Google Drive are as easy. Also navigating SkyDrive is faster. They both also let you create, edit, collabrate asynchronously, and share documents online while on the go. Truth is, well, the competition has gotten pretty good.

I find it ludicrous that people are failing to see the clear advantages of the competition just for the sake of sort of rationalizing their previous decision. In the other hand, many, like me, go to whoever provides an all-around better service without that brand-loyalty weight on our backs.

Microsoft also released the native SkyDrive app for both Mac and Windows, and the "forgot something" feature is genius in its seamlessness and effortlessness. Google Drive will also integrate with Chrome OS Aura and possibly Windows, so there's that.

If you are sticking with Dropbox just for trying to, I don't know, prove something, at least tell me what does it do that SkyDrive or Google Drive don't do that you wouldn't live without. And this is coming from a current Dropbox user.

Guest said:

What about Ubuntu One?

Guest said:

For me, the problems with cloud storage are: 1st, we depend on an internet connection which a) doesn't exist everywhere and b) it's speeds can be very slow in places. Some people are still accessing internet via dial-up acesses, and uploading, let's say, a full album of music to the cloud would take about an hour or two, not to say simple MSWord documents taking a minute and a half or so to upload. Me for instance, have a weird internet plan where i get 1GB of traffic at 1Mbps, but then i get "unlimited" at 128kbps. Some kbits over double dial-up, and i couldn't imagine myself opening movies and 100MB sound files, not to mention 3GB ISO's (split into 50MB RAR's because of skydrive's limitation) with such an internet access.

Guest said:

What about box? It gives 50GB free storage with 100MB of upload size

sapo joe said:

I'm using Skydrive for half a year now, and I love it... Very easy to integrate to windows, fast, and runs a low footprint program on the taskbar.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

lol, too bad Sony is too late. but then again, I'm kind of happy they were not included here.

PinothyJ said:

I fail to see how Dropbox wins on easy of use? Both SkyDrive and Google Drive are as easy. Also navigating SkyDrive is faster. They both also let you create, edit, collabrate asynchronously, and share documents online while on the go. Truth is, well, the competition has gotten pretty good.

I find it ludicrous that people are failing to see the clear advantages of the competition just for the sake of sort of rationalizing their previous decision. In the other hand, many, like me, go to whoever provides an all-around better service without that brand-loyalty weight on our backs.

Microsoft also released the native SkyDrive app for both Mac and Windows, and the "forgot something"

feature is genius in its seamlessness and effortlessness. Google Drive will also integrate with Chrome OS Aura and possibly Windows, so there's that.

If you are sticking with Dropbox just for trying to, I don't know, prove something, at least tell me what does it do that SkyDrive or Google Drive don't do that you wouldn't live without. And this is coming from a current Dropbox user.

What should be included is the Term and Conditions of these services.

Thinking of Google? Rethink! [link]

Why risk it...

mrtraver said:

I use adrive - 50Gb free!

Staff
Jos Jos said:

@lawfer it's not that I'm sticking with Dropbox just to prove something. If I were to open an account with one of these for the first time, I could choose SkyDrive, or Drive, or maybe something else. There are plenty of capable options. The thing is, I've been using Dropbox for over 3 years and it has never failed me. I currently have 5.1GB of space and only use 12.6%. So the point I was trying to make is that there is not enough incentive for me to switch. There's nothing I want to do that Dropbox can't and others can.

For me that's reason enough, but there are other things as well. For one thing, Dropbox integrates better with the OS and lets me share right from the desktop by right-clicking a file or folder. Google Drive only offers this functionality from its website and SkyDrive only offers this on Windows (I use OS X) or its web interface.

LAN Sync and the ability to control upload/download speeds are also a couple of Dropbox features that come in handy when dealing with large files and other services lack. I don't upload many large files but it's something to consider.

So this is what works for me. I mostly store text documents from work and a few other important files I need to access from time to time while on the go. I don't keep my photos in the cloud. I don't see the need for it. But if the time comes that I want to, I will use SkyDrive's free 25GB for that.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@lawfer it's not that I'm sticking with Dropbox just to prove something. If I were to open an account with one of these for the first time, I could choose SkyDrive, or Drive, or maybe something else. There are plenty of capable options. The thing is, I've been using Dropbox for over 3 years and it has never failed me. I currently have 5.1GB of space and only use 12.6%. So the point I was trying to make is that there is not enough incentive for me to switch. There's nothing I want to do that Dropbox can't and others can.

For me that's reason enough, but there are other things as well. For one thing, Dropbox integrates better with the OS and lets me share right from the desktop by right-clicking a file or folder. Google Drive only offers this functionality from its website and SkyDrive only offers this on Windows (I use OS X) or its web interface.

LAN Sync and the ability to control upload/download speeds are also a couple of Dropbox features that come in handy when dealing with large files and other services lack. I don't upload many large files but it's something to consider.

So this is what works for me. I mostly store text documents from work and a few other important files I need to access from time to time while on the go. I don't keep my photos in the cloud. I don't see the need for it. But if the time comes that I want to, I will use SkyDrive's free 25GB for that.

My entire comment wasn't directed to you, only the first paragraph was. I apologize for lack of specificity.

From the second paragraph I was talking to those who, unlike you, created a Dropbox account, haven't really used it, and now that an equally (or more) functional product exists, they still refuse to even try it out just because one happens to be made by Microsoft and/or Google. I am indirectly targeting the sometimes delusional "fanboys" that are quite rampant both on here and on the internet.

Staff
Jos Jos said:

@lawfer no harm done I still wanted to elaborate more on why I prefer Dropbox. Different users have different needs, of course. If I needed a lot more storage space I probably wouldn't use Dropbox since their paid plans are much more expensive than the competition.

Guest said:

How come no mention of Carbonite? Or TransferBigFiles, SizeableSend, GigaSend, DropSend, FilesDirect, JustCloud, SendNow... or any of the numerous other cloud storage programs? What I really mean is, "How did you pick just these five to review?"

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have used Drop Box for several years and love it! It makes it wonderfully easy to keep my smaller files I want on all my computers sync'd up. It runs great on Win XP, 7, and Ubuntu Linux.

Only complaint is that only has 2 gigs of storage (I think I'm up to 5 now thanks to invites) and getting more storage is a bit pricey. I wanted to use it to keep my ~20gigs of music sync'd between all my computers but didn't want to pay $10 for double the storage I need to make life slightly more convenient.

I looked at a lot of other cloud storage options with a hot folder like Drop Box has but so many had the draw back on not running on Linux. Given my laptop that goes everywhere with me runs Ubuntu, I kinda needed that.

I ended up doing the month to month with Ubuntu One ($2.99/mo). Works great on my laptop that runs the newest Ubuntu, and my laptop that runs the older Xubuntu.

Windows client works decently. It took it forever to originally sync the ~20 gigs of music I have to all my computers but now that I have the large chunk out of the way, when I add 1 or two songs it works just fine.

Guest said:

Amazon S3 Buckets. Yes, they don't offer any free storage space, but their reputation and reliability has won me as a customer. I'm a fan favorite of Gallery3 which allows me to host my own picture gallery. It has a very nice module that implements Amazon's S3 buckets.

Overall Amazon is far ahead of any of the competitors in Cloud services that includes storage.

Guest said:

What about Wuala, U1 and SpiderOak?

To the person complaining about cloud storage in areas with no/slow internet access. Obviously cloud storage is not FOR those people. That is why HDD's are still being sold. Cloud Storage is for the people who want and can use it. Not everyone can afford a Lamborghini, but they're still being sold.

Guest said:

I'm very happy with SkyDrive, especially considering that I've got OneNote syncing my uni notes to it and I've got the app on my computer. It also doesn't mangle Office documents unlike Google Drive.

Guest said:

I love DropBox.

- Multi-platform

- Unlimited upload size

- LAN sync

Granted you pay a premium for their storage compared to others, I still think it is worth what you pay for.

Guest said:

Google Drive really needs to work on it's Grid Layout. The way Skydrive uses Live Tiles to present picture albums, as well as the way it lays out those pictures is much more efficient that Google Drive's at the moment. The whole huge grey folder icons look is pretty awful.

Guest said:

Totally agree with you lawfer on DropBox. Their user interface is pretty rough. I struggle to get around it and I'm pretty well-versed in cloud storage.

For me, Google Drive is the best on this list but the writer is leaving out a TON of other services: MyPCBackup, livedrive, keepit....just to name a few. I've actually written up a bunch of reviews on cloud storage services at my website top10cloudstorage.com. I'd love to hear your thoughts on my reviews.

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

The decision is easy:

Google Drive - "Don't be evil" bullsh*t, those terms of services are what define Google now.

SkyDrive - You lost me at "Let's make it look like Hotmail"

Dropbox - Company dedicated to providing ONLY that service with years of experience in that field with apps for every platform available, including Blackberry.

The decision is a no brainer for me, the better service is Dropbox even if it's more expensive it'll be worth it and a lot of applications already support it for providing synchronization between devices (1Password in my case).

I've always looked at new technology and when I find a better one I switch without thinking that much about it. I switched to Macs 10 years ago and I would switch again if I find a better tool for my needs. I hate not being up to date and I refuse to not update my software to the latest versions.

In this case if you already use Dropbox stick with it. Who knows maybe Google Drive will go the way of the Dodo in a few years, just like Buzz and Wave.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

I'm using Skydrive for half a year now, and I love it... Very easy to integrate to windows, fast, and runs a low footprint program on the taskbar.

Too bad it will only sync certain file types. (Drop a .7z file in there and watch it go nowhere.)

Dropbox is by far the easiest and quickest on my mix of platforms (Win 7, Mac, Android) but unfortunately, offers the lowest amount of space.

I'm glad to see Skydrive finally offers desktop apps and since I was able to bump up to 25GB of space, I hope to see them expand the types of files you can sync.

Right now, the combination of Dropbox + LAN Sync + TrueCrypt is hard to beat for a secure file sync solution.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The decision is easy:

Google Drive - "Don't be evil" bullsh*t, those terms of services are what define Google now.

SkyDrive - You lost me at "Let's make it look like Hotmail"

Dropbox - Company dedicated to providing ONLY that service with years of experience in that field with apps for every platform available, including Blackberry.

The decision is a no brainer for me, the better service is Dropbox even if it's more expensive it'll be worth it and a lot of applications already support it for providing synchronization between devices (1Password in my case).

I've always looked at new technology and when I find a better one I switch without thinking that much about it. I switched to Macs 10 years ago and I would switch again if I find a better tool for my needs. I hate not being up to date and I refuse to not update my software to the latest versions.

In this case if you already use Dropbox stick with it. Who knows maybe Google Drive will go the way of the Dodo in a few years, just like Buzz and Wave.

I... I can't even...

Like, where do I start?

PinothyJ said:

I use adrive - 50Gb free!

Adrive does not have a client for the free plan (although the Java uploader is surprisingly sturdy)...

Guest said:

'Cubby' is a new and exciting cloud storage platform. 6 GB on Cloud and Unlimited LAN Sync stands out for me :)

Guest said:

Why do you link to what somebody else has to say about Google's terms of service, instead of just saying it yourself? It's weird to me when somebody says they are reviewing a product, but doesn't state what it's biggest negative is, they just link to another description of it. Afraid to blast The Giant yourself?

Guest said:

You guys seem to forget that there is also a Live Mesh app in addition to SkyDrive, that focuses on syncing selected folders between your PC's (that also does LAN syncing when available) so you can select SkyDrive folder for syncing in Mesh if you need to bypass internet-only sync.

So this extends feature list quite a bit (although Mesh is not SkyDrive, but can be combined with it and uses same account) while providing with alternative to online-only backup. For example my work and art projects folders are way too big to sync over cloud, so I backup my data by automatically duplicating on all my PC's. For other purposes Dropbox and Skydrive work the best (I use both for different needs).

Guest said:

Strange no one mentioned the CrashPlan it is superior in prise/performance to everything including DropBox, SkyDrive, etc. Just check their site. And their seeding is very convenient too: they send you their own 1 TB HD for that.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Too bad it will only sync certain file types. (Drop a .7z file in there and watch it go nowhere.)

Not sure how you got to this conclusion as I have several .7z files uploaded.

TJGeezer said:

I've been using CX.com for awhile now in addition to Dropbox. My shared folders in Dropbox are automatic and all the people who share files with me have Dropbox on their machines, so the hassle factor of changing would be extreme, especially since even with us all sharing video clips and pics and such, I'm rarely over 2GB of the 5GB available.

For backing up my work files I've been using CX.com - it syncs multiple folders automatically and is as painless to use as Dropbox in most respects. Unfortunately, the sync service is giving me some headaches right now - some of my key files (luckily also backed up in Dropbox) stopped syncing some time ago, I just discovered. I've updated to the most recent client for Windows and hope that fixes the problem, since I'm using over half the available 10GB for large DOC files plus my ebook collection and would hate to shift all that over to a more restricted service like SkyDrive.

I like CX.com a lot and REALLY hope the software update makes it sync again.

Guest said:

to add to Cubby's features...... encryption.

treetops treetops said:

Thanks again for reminding me to backup my school work, I went with Google Drive. I'm loving cloud storage.

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