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Amazon's Cloud Drive has been around for a while, but yesterday the company made it much easier to upload files from its servers by releasing dedicated apps fow Windows and OS X. The move comes hot on the heels of Google Drive's launch last week and Microsoft revamping its SkyDrive cloud storage solution.
Unlike the aforementioned two, as well as services like Dropbox, Cloud Drive doesn't create a specific folder that syncs its content automatically to your Amazon-hosted storage. Rather, you use a contextual menu or drag files onto the cloud icon in your taskbar to upload them, and have to manually re-upload stuff if you make changes that you want stored in the cloud. When you want to download or manage and move files to appropriate folders on your Cloud Drive account, you have to access the service via a web browser.
There's no support for syncing data between multiple devices using the cloud as an intermediary, and you also don't get any features to share files publicly or with other users. In other words, it's a simple one-way tool for uploading specific files or folders to the cloud, with the ability to pause or resume interrupted transfers.
We wouldn't be surprised to see Amazon adding some of these features with later builds of the application – it seems like the way to go if they want to compete with other cloud-based storage providers.
Amazon Cloud Drive comes with 5GB of free storage space and is available to anyone with an account at Amazon.com. You can upgrade to several tiered packages at a dollar per gigabyte: 20GB for $20 a year, 50GB for $50 and so on up to 1000GB. Songs purchased through Amazon MP3 don't count toward your Cloud Drive storage limit on any plan, while paid tiers also allow unlimited storage of digital music acquired elsewhere.