My Life in the Cloud: Which online storage options are best for me?

 

Tech giants like Google and Apple are continuously trying to lure us into storing our data on their servers, a service otherwise known as ‘cloud storage’. There are many obvious question marks over this kind of technology. What if they lose all of my stuff? Will my data be safe from hackers? Do I want companies building up such an accurate image of me?

Despite this, the benefits are quite attractive, too: everything is backed up automatically and in a continuously more mobile world, being able to access data from a range of devices is really quite useful. So as long as the data stored isn’t top secret, there’s plenty to be gained from the various services on offer.

Fortunately, cloud storage is only getting cheaper to the point where it is possible to reap much benefit at very little to no cost at all. Here are some of the options available to you:

Files and folders

Dropbox (www.dropbox.com)

Dropbox introduced many to cloud storage, and the outsider continues to compete well with the big guns.

Good if: you need lots of space. There are plenty of opportunities to earn extra storage, from referring friends and using new features to promoting Dropbox on social networking sites.

Bad if: you want to store anything private. Dropbox’s reputation took a hit last August when a security breach led to many of its members receiving unsolicited emails.

iCloud (www.icloud.com)

Apple’s contender in the online storage war takes a typically ‘walled garden’ approach.

Good if: you live in Apple’s universe. iCloud is deeply integrated into both OS X and iOS, so it’s perfect if you use apps like Mail, Calendar and Notes, and you want seamless continuity between multiple Apple devices.

Bad if: you don’t live in Apple’s universe. iCloud has its niche which it does very well, but other than that you’d be better off with a less tailored option.

Google Drive (drive.google.com)

Although a late starter in the market, Google Drive’s 5GB of free storage forced Dropbox to up its game.

Good if: you need a top-notch search function. As well as looking within files, Google Drive uses optical character recognition technology to search through legible text in scanned files.

Bad if: you need more than 5GB. Whilst there’s always the option of storing up to 10GB in Gmail, any extra storage in Google Drive itself comes with a price tag.

Documents and notes

Google Docs (docs.google.com)

One of the early online document editing solutions continues to be a favourite.

Good if: you work with both PCs and Macs. Google Docs runs in a browser, saving you hours of time spent converting files. Multi-user editing in realtime is also useful for group projects.

Bad if: you want to work from the desktop. Docs opening in browser windows can get a bit cluttered and confusing if you’re surfing the web as well.

Evernote (www.evernote.com)

It may appear simplistic at first, but with the release of Evernote 5 the king of note-taking is probably the sleekest option out there.

Good if: you need a well-organised environment to keep your notes safe in, and you want the option of moving between different devices; Evernote has desktop, web, mobile and tablet incarnations.

Bad if: you don’t like Helvetica size 13. For all of its laudable points, the app is irritatingly buggy, one instance being its tendency to revert text back to the app’s default font and size seemingly at random. Evernote struggles particularly with imported rich text, so think again if you might get frustrated with pasting everything into a plaintext editor first.

Music

Spotify (www.spotify.com)

The big dog in music streaming, Spotify’s free plan is great. At first...

Good if: you’re constantly on the hunt for new music. With over 17 million tracks, Spotify is a great tool for developing your tastes.

Bad if: you listen to music for more than ten hours a week. Unless you’re willing to fork out at for a subscription package, once your 6-month grace period finishes, Spotify comes down hard with its limitations.

Google Music (music.google.com)

Google’s attempt to take on the online music market puts your own library in the cloud.

Good if: you have a big library that you want to access from anywhere. Google Music allows you to upload up to 20,000 tracks free of charge which can be streamed from the simplistic web interface as well as from iOS and Android apps.

Bad if: your own music collection isn’t enough. Whilst you can buy tracks through Google Play, you’re largely limited to what you’ve uploaded.

Grooveshark (www.grooveshark.com)

A combination of Spotify and Google Music, Grooveshark’s library includes a pool of everyone’s uploads.

Good if: you want the freedom to listen to what you want, as much as you like.

Bad if: you want music on the move. That’ll mean getting a subscription, and even then iPhone owners will either have to jailbreak or settle for a web app.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    Ashdown Group: Part time Network Support Analyst / Windows Systems Administrat

    £30 per hour: Ashdown Group: An industry leading and well established business...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

    £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

    £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas