Some time back, I decided to start investigating could services for storing personal files, pictures, music, and videos. Running backups of my personal files and the inability to easily shared them across multiple devices made me start researching cloud services. I had few requirements:
- Run on Windows, Linux, and Android
- Personal file backup
- Ability to share files and music on all my devices
- Low overhead running the services
After I identified the requirements, I started the research and found the following services broken down by service type; I divided the sections into 4 major sections: File Services, Music Services, Picture Services, and Video Services:
Ubuntu One is my preferred storage solution. It offers 5GB of free storage, it runs on Windows, Linux, and Android. Basically all my platforms. The client is low overhead, I don’t even notice it running. It has the following features that made it my primary choice:
- 5GB of free storage
- Automatic upload of all Android pictures avoiding duplicates
- Runs on Linux well and can synchronize any directory on the system, unlike other services that can only sync 1 directory
- Runs on Android
- Runs on Windows
- Low client overhead
- Small footprint
- Uploaded Pictures are treated as files, not resized.
I use Ubuntu One service to store all my legacy documents and files. I also stored all my pictures, but my pictures are only around 3GB.
DropBox is probably the most used cloud storage service, it also runs on Mac, however, it has few limitations that made it not my preferred solution:
- Only 2GB of storage, yes I am aware you can go up to 8GB with referral, but who has the time for that, and the referral is quite a pain, the user actually has to install the software and run it
- Only syncs 1 directory on a system; this makes operating system integration very difficult
- The client is heavy overhead. I noticed performance degradation while running it
CX is a new cloud storage with the following observations:
- Large storage 10GB
- Integration with all the most common operating systems except Linux; support says Linux will be supported
- It appears to be slow at times
- Let’s wait few months and I will update the service review
Google Docs is google document storage, every new document I write it is currently stored in Google Docs, the service only gives you 1GB for files, however, Google Docs stored in Google format do not count towards the space. This service is so great that I have forgotten about Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice.
Box.com is a free service that right now, if you sign-up on Android, you get 50GB of storage, yes 50GB, it’s not a type and time is limited; the offers expires on March 23 2012, so hurry, otherwise you only get 5GB. My buddy Rodney Cephas found out about this service and told me about it. The operating system integration is not great, but 50GB for free cannot go unnoticed.
I personally found the service not reliable, I’have uploaded files, ad they have simply disappeared, yes disappeared, especially, if uploading large files 50+MB. Also they have a file limit of 100MB, yes large storage, but 100MB limit makes it useless.
Google Music is the free Music service from Google it has the following capabilities:
- Ample space, the support page says 20,000 songs. That is a lot; my current music library is about 2600 songs, so I have a lot of growth.
- Supports all major operating systems, and mobile operating systems. I stream on Android and it works beautifully.
You wonder why use Google+ to store pictures? The answer is very simple, Google+ allows you automatically upload your pictures to the Google cloud for sharing without counting against space. The images are resized to a lower resolution, but for sharing, this is great. So I use this service as my secondary picture backup.
Photo Bucket is very similar to Google+ with the ability to store videos, pictures are resized, unless you purchase the Pro account. I could not find an answer to the space limit, but I believe it’s around 1 GB, which is not much. The real reason that I choose Google+ is the integration with the Android Operating System.
Picasa does not give you enough storage, only 1GB, plus it seams that Google is pushing Google+ as a picture service phasing out Picasa. So I did not use it.
YouTube is by far, the best place to store your videos in the cloud; videos can be then, shared, or marked private. By default, YouTube only allows up to 15 minutes max video upload. All you have to do is verify the account to increase your limit to unlimited. I verified the account on my mobile device, and I am not set to upload unlimited videos.
I also evaluated many others like: flickr, sugarsync, SkyDrive, etc, but I only listed the ones that meat my requirements.
I can now not backup my files any more and rely on much bigger infrastructures to do so… Hope you enjoyed the post…