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Monday, April 30, 2012

Cloud Storage: Raining Free Space

A gift from heaven? Well, it sure is beneficial to have cloud storage to backup your documents, collaborate with others or sync them with other devices. If that is heavenly to you, check out some of the various free options including the launch of the Google's Cloud Storage Service.  So let's start there.

Google Drive - will be available for PC, Mac and Android while other options will be coming soon. Google is generous, starting you off at 5GB of space for free and giving you the freedom to store your documents or collaborate with others on them! You can also upgrade for $2.49 per month and store five times the amount: 25GB.  Google Drive is more of an extension of Google Apps, the online office suite, as it is a storage service.

Dropbox -  Windows? Mac? Blackberry? Available for almost all platforms, Dropbox set the template for many of these other services. First 2GB are free and it integrates nicely as just another folder on your Windows Explorer or on the task bar.  Invite your friends and you can earn up to 16GB of free space.

Microsoft Skydrive - Part of the Windows Live online services, you can store and collaborate here as well. Microsoft Skydrive seems to be missing sync'ability (yes, this probably is a new geek word) with some devices such as Android, Blackberry or Linux. The good news is this service starts you off with a free 7GB of space.

Box - This service is geared toward the business and corporate community and offers 5GB to start out but is the more expensive service to upgrade. One nice feature is an allowing you to set an expiration date on shared content.

This is a very brief overview and there are many other options, services and features as well as other cloud storage becoming available. So instead of buying another hard drive or external storage for your documents or photo backups, consider these options. Please remember though that if the documents are sensitive, such as IRS returns, the cloud is NOT the place to store these items. Security should be a consideration in all your storage evaluations. ☺













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