Weekend Open Forum: Do you use cloud storage? If so, for what?

By Lee Kaelin on September 21, 2012, 6:30 PM

Cloud storage has grown in popularity in recent years, with Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and others providing an affordable means of backing up or sharing data online. While all of them can store your files, most have unique features. For instance, SkyDrive is geared toward project collaboration using Microsoft's Office software, while up to 250 songs bought from Amazon can be freely housed on Cloud Player.

I use Dropbox daily. In many cases, I find it to be the most convenient way to transfer files between my phone and PCs, and I often use it to share images and other files. The most appealing feature to me, though, is the way it integrates with the Galaxy S3 by uploading new photos to the cloud, which synchronizes with my PC so I don't need to add them myself. What's your favorite cloud service and how do you use it?

Cloud image from Shutterstock

User Comments: 60

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ElShotte ElShotte said:

I personally use Dropbox, and have been since the I got a beta invite around 5 or so years ago. It's the best thing ever. I store all my work and important documents on it, and although I still have a non-paid membership, I'm only using 64% of my 5.25 GB, out of which 3.25 is a bonus for referring friends and trying their mobile photo upload feature (which is awesome by the way).

EEatGDL said:

Dropbox, for working with partners on shared files and projects. Skydrive for personal documents backup (mostly Office files), I was using it before Dropbox so I didn't re-sync with Dropbox.

yorro said:

Been using Dropbox since beta, and recently paying customer(27GB). I use both GoogleDrive and Dropbox, I can tell you that Dropbox is miles ahead.

Most innovative cloud storage.

war59312 said:

I use both Dropbox and crashplan.com.

CrashPlan I use to backup all of my computers and Dropbox for the simple file sharing on my Ipad.

I have about 16TB worth of data so no way could I use dropbox for that. CrashPlan is awesome. Maxing out my upload to their servers and seeded for free too (military discount, read: free).

Before CrashPlan I was using Dropbox all the time but seeing as the max file size you can upload to Dropbox via the iPad is only 180mb it has become useless for my needs. So starting to switch over to CrashPlan for that as well.

Having unlimited space for so cheap is great and Crashplan's tech support is wonderfull to boot. And yes like Dropbox, CrashPlan supports Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod), etc.

Guest said:

I don't like Dropbox, which is ok but the ui is not intuitive, or Skydrive, which is crapper than crap - they can't even get file numbers in order - we all know 3 comes after 2 right ? But Skydrive thinks 21 follows 2 - ******.

However, my job requires file sharing so I have no choice. IMO the cloud sucks.

mrtraver said:

I use Adrive to back up pics, but that's about it for me.

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Like Lee I rely on Dropbox for moving and sharing files between PCs. I also use Skydrive to backup files and photos. I used to keep a Flickr Pro account to backup all my photos on the cloud as well, but doing so it's not as seamless as with other services. I will try revisiting the idea because it's a better service for that specific purpose once you automate it.

1 person liked this | hitech0101 said:

Nope still pretty much using storage on earth.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Is there a difference between Cloud Storage and any type of Internet storage?

Would storage of files anywhere on the Internet, technically be considered Cloud Storage? Even though the idea has been done many years, it has only recently become known as Cloud Storage. Was Cloud Storage finally placing a name on a concept that has been around for years?

I'm asking the question because I have notice gaming screen shots through steam, show a cloud emblem representing image upload completion. Before I saw the cloud emblem, I never really pictured myself using cloud storage.

Internet based Email applications is probably the oldest form of what I currently see as Cloud Storage.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

No..I trust cloud computing about as much as I trust a politician.

1 person liked this | negroplasty negroplasty said:

Dropbox, Google Drive and Sky Drive. I keep redundant copies of important documents, software serial keys, phone nandroid backups etc.

1 person liked this | spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

The NSA and Homeland Security manage my cloud storage. I'm confident all my day-to-day personal information is being securely stored in a cloud.

bugejakurt said:

Using Skydrive and Live Mesh not disappointing at all!

Guest said:

I use Amazon S3 storage to backup my server and client data - about 80GB of data, only costs about $15 /month

Googlebot Googlebot said:

I like to backup to NAS, not cloud, but I put some documents in Google Docs,

CrisisDog said:

I despise cloud storage, makes me think "big brother" may be able to view my personal stuff. I have the Amazon Cloud Drive, which I feel forced into with my MP3 purchases, and my Android contacts and calendar are sync'd with Google, but otherwise I don't keep any other documents up in the cloud.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I use Google Drive, because I use google docs for a lot of my documents.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I use it mainly as a file transfer mechanism. Tired of carrying around (and losing) USB sticks.

2 people like this | ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

I have dropbox, google drive, and skydrive for transfering all my important documents (mostly school work) in between computers and my phone. I mainly just use dropbox though because it is the easiest to sync (folder on my computer) and it works great with my linux computers.

I don't know why everybody is so paranoid someone is going to look at there cloud data. Out of the millions of people who store stuff in there, why would anyone care about you or me? Unless we are storing nation secrets or bank account information, nobody is even going to care about our stuff.

1 person liked this | TJGeezer said:

Dropbox for automatic syncing of folders with friends in remote locations.

Skydrive for MS Office document backup because it's easy.

SugarSync for sharing large files or collections with one person, but it's very slow.

Cubby for selected docs (KeePass locker, .ini files, macro files, other such stuff)

Google Drive for the extra capacity but not using much yet (just signed up).

AutoHotkey automates the process in Windows, bash handles it in Linux, so nothing gets lost, encryption-first never forgotten, etc. I couldn't keep it all consistent manually 'cause it just grew into a random-looking mess with files here, files there.... but it's all mapped out in sync macros that grew with it so it works. Has saved my files more than once when a drive failed.

Security in the cloud doesn't trouble me. Anything that shouldn't be out there in the open is encrypted (by the sync macro) before copying to the cloud anyway.

Guest said:

I still don't see a need to use cloud storage.

It's just as easy for me to transfer files to a USB stick and take them to work if needed. For large backups I use an external Hard Drive.

Guest said:

I don't use cloud storage and I don't think I would ever trust the majority of my files on cloud storage. I think in some cases it's useful but in other cases it's being used to excuse the manufacturer and sale of a lot of devices that just don't have adequate built in storage space.

If you rely on cloud storage and find yourself without internet access, you are screwed, and if you happen to need to download or copy a large amount of stuff that you have in the cloud, it's going to take forever, if it's even doable at all.

If the company that stores your files gets hacked or they somehow lose your data and even a backup copy of your data, at the same time, you may be screwed.

I'm waiting for the storage on a lot of these portable devices to become "adequate" and I am betting that a lot of other people are too. When manufacturers realize that some people value built-in storage versus putting their personal information in "the cloud" I am betting that they will increase storage in the devices they build or make it more of a priority in the future, and they will probably see increased sales numbers as a result.

alexandrionel said:

I use Dropbox. A friend told me about it and showed me how usefull it can be.

Mostly I use it for work. I don't have a laptop and don't want one so I just work on some stuff, put them in Dropbox and when I get home I can continue working. This way I am not bound to one pc, which is a great feeling for me.

Guest said:

I do not trust the all-mighty "cloud", therefore I don't use it. Although I do know numerous friends who do use it as a means for file transfer and that's their call. No Thanks.

Matt12345170 Matt12345170 said:

As with some others, I don't trust could storage and I will never rely on it, however I do use it to transfer some files when I can't find my USB stick

Guest said:

No and never will. Local storage is always better.

Chazz said:

I personally have never sought out cloud services but, in my use of technology it just seems to happen. I have a WP7 device and skydrive is pretty handy and integrated, so I use that. And Steam has a useful feature to backup saved data, so I use steam's cloud storage.

Never sought it out, but very happy to have it.

Guest said:

Dropbox with my android phone.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm waiting for the storage on a lot of these portable devices to become "adequate" and I am betting that a lot of other people are too. When manufacturers realize that some people value built-in storage versus putting their personal information in "the cloud" I am betting that they will increase storage in the devices they build or make it more of a priority in the future, and they will probably see increased sales numbers as a result.
Cloud storage is in no way responsible for lack of personal storage capacities. Quite frankly, I'm shocked you would make this comment, when you can purchase a 3TB external (without the need for a raid configuration) drive for under $200. Just how long would it take an average Internet user to upload or download 3TB using the cloud. Do they even have a service (I don't know) that will allow 3TB of cloud storage? The only way I could see your reasoning, is if you could get more cloud storage than personal storage for a comparable price.

Guest said:

I'm using Google drive, Box and Dropbox and sync them all into one place using Cloudkafe.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm using Skydrive for a while now, and it perfectly fits for my needs. It syncs my data from notebook/desktop pc + smartphone pretty neatly.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My main use for cloud is Google Docs (so now Drive). I moved a lot of the documents I update often there so I can update them from anywhere. Other than this I used Box for sharing some stuff, and Dropbox when others shared stuff with me over it, but other than this I don't really keep files online.

Macgyver56 said:

I continue to use earth-based storage. I live in Rural, USA. I cannot always get access to the internet when I'm not at home. I have looked at using several services (Dropbox, Google) from time to time, but in the end came to the realization that I was going to run into situations when I could not get to files when I need them.

When your cellphone and wireless coverage area maps resemble a trail of spilled coffee between the kitchen and your computer desk, cloud storage may not be a good option unless you're sharing files from fixed locations (which I am not).

Guest said:

Nope. 'The Cloud' is such a nice name for 'in someone else's pocket'. Never.

Guest said:

I do use Dropbox but as a means of easy access to certain files. I would never keep any personal information or files I do not have a backup somewhere else.

Guest said:

Cloud storage is on the rise. I use MS Skydrive and have even upgraded my storage size from 25 GB - 45 GB. I store all of my pictures and some important documents such as receipts and files. I use Microsoft's 256-bit encryption on my office documents that are sensitive (along with no sharing to anyone).

Scott Johnson Scott Johnson said:

I just don't understand the cloud-storage craze.

1) There's no way you can get enough storage to make a dent in your personal files...even with paid subscriptions. Most people I know have TB's of files (movies, music, photos, etc). There's no way to get even a fraction of that online.

2) You no longer have direct control of your files. Look what happened to MegaUpload and all those customers' files.

3) It's less efficient, not more. With a local file, I just click the icon. With a cloud file, I have to open up my browser, go to the cloud service page, login, and then wait for my file to download or open in some web-app. Why would I ever want to make accessing my files more complicated?

4) If my connection is slow, my file access is slow.

Like I said, I just don't understand why people are doing this. I keep thinking that I must be missing something...some great benefit to doing it this way...but so far I just don't see it. All negatives, no positives.

KG363 KG363 said:

SkyDrive for my school work. I hardly need the 27GB they gave me.

Arston said:

I use 21GB Dropbox for backup of important files and documents, auto-upload of camera photos, easy transfer of files from my phone to the computer and give links to friends to files on my computer whenever needed. I also use it to store some documents that I'm working on, so if anything happens, I can restore it to any of the saves I've made.

I've got my desktop synced with Dropbox, so any file that goes through my desktop is accessible from any computer (even if it was deleted up to a month ago).

These are just some of the reasons I like it. I'm also using Skydrive for my OneNote notebooks, but that's only cause it's easier to sync it to my phone's OneNote app.

Guest said:

I've been using Dropbox for quite a while now and it's proven to be very reliable and easy to work with. I like how my photos from my phone automatically synchronize to my PC, and once in a while the "Previous Versions" option and file history saves my time in work when something goes wrong. Dropbox FTW!

1 person liked this | Zoltan Head said:

I don't know how best to store a cloud, I tried a cardboard box once, but when I opened it later, the cloud had gone, and the cardboard was slightly damp.

Guest said:

I'm using exclusive cloud storage provided by my community.. (like some of your company where you worked provide it to their employee) I'm using it to store encrypted project data, several documents, pictures, etc etc except very private/personal information

backo said:

I use SkyDrive and I am very happy with it.

Mostly for photos and video sharing and to access my home PC on the go.

Guest said:

I started with Dropbox. Now I use Skydrive, Google Drive and Box (50GB haha)...

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Cloud service seems like a nice idea, but I like my data saved and stored on my portable Hard drive, that way I can always get it even if the internet dies, my information is safe from the most part from hackers also etc. Plus... I already have the portable hard drive with more then enough space.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I use SkyDrive. They recently released the Android app, and it's bloody magnificent! I sync my documents and pictures.

ikesmasher said:

Sometimes for nonimportant stuff.

But the idea of using the cloud for stuff I would store on a phone or other portable devices astounds me, I have to be able to access stuff WHENEVER. no signal worries or anything.

treetops treetops said:

Game codes, program codes(cd keys), pictures and research papers\exams

ShadowDeath said:

I actually use Google Drive more now. Mainly because of the native document editors, those were really good for taking notes in college just in case something happened they were already on the cloud.

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