Recently I have noticed that more and more smartphone apps offer you the option to automatically back up the photos (and in some cases videos) that you take (or save) on your Android or iOS powered smartphone. Being a fan of backing things up I like the option to have the same file in multiple places…just in case. One added bonus is that fact that since the services behind the apps are competing to be your go to photo storage and sharing solution they each offer a generous amount of storage for free. There’s something of a space race going on with respect to offering free storage so I can see the limits to free storage continuing to increase as time goes on. Another added bonus is the fact that you can access and share your photos on via a computer as well.
While free and automatic are the two benefits of apps that back up your photos there is still a downside to using multiple apps. Backing up your photos takes bandwidth that you may or may not want to part with at any given time. Thankfully the apps have settings that allow you to: a) opt-in to whether or not you want to auto save photos; and if you choose to opt-in b) choose between uploads on wifi only or wifi and wireless data (4G, LTE, etc.). So you do have choices. The other potential downside involves the drawing down of your phone battery that takes place when files are uploaded. You can mitigate this problem by selecting to upload over wifi only. This works for me because typically when I’m near wifi I’m also near a power outlet.
Microsoft is upping the cloud storage ante by offering 200GB of free SkyDrive storage for two years to buyers of their new Surface and Surface Pro tablets.
More and more I’m seeing companies bundling in cloud storage with their storage limited (i.e. flash storage) hardware. I believe that Google offers 50GB with the purchase of a Chromebook. Other device manufacturers have special deals with Box and DropBox. The intent is the same across the board. Soothe people’s anxiety about not having enough local storage to keep all of their stuff in hand.
Microsoft is way out in front with their new 200GB offer, but like the Google deal the free storage is temporary. So if you continue to utilize the storage you will have an ongoing cost that May or may not be competitive with other alternatives.
I can’t say that Microsoft’s offer would convince me to buy one of their tabs. I do believe it will push other cloud storage companies to raise the amount of storage in their free tiers and that is definitely a good thing.
Further to my recent post about cloud storage Yahoo! has upped the ante big time by boosting their free storage tier on their Flickr photo (and video) sharing service to one terabyte (TB), which is quite a bit more than any other service offers for free. This is a very nice development that also creates an incentive (believe it or not) to move from Flickr’s Pro accounts (which will be renewed at double the price, but are no longer available to new sign ups) to a Free account.
With word coming from Google that they have now consolidated their storage quota to 15 gigabytes (GB) across Drive, Gmail and Google+ I began to ponder just how much free storage you can get from the various cloud services seeking your digital assets. A cursory review of some of the major services reveals the following amounts of free storage.
Microsoft SkyDrive – 7GB
Amazon Cloud Drive – 5GB
Apple iCloud – 5GB
Dropbox – 2GB
Box – 5GB