By Johnny Wills | Apr 29, 2012 11:16 AM EDT
Cloud computing became popular in 2008, after the launch of Dropbox. Realizing the demand for cloud backup solutions, world's top tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Google have stepped into the cloud storage business with their own cloud platforms - iCloud, SkyDrive and Google Drive. Numerous options are available and consumers are finding it difficult to choose the best.
To solve the confusion, we are giving a quick view of what features does these three cloud platforms possess.
After years of development, Google Drive is finally here. The platform is new and technology is still in early stages. Google Drive provides basic functionality of a cloud platform. Users get 5GB of free online storage on Google Drive. Gmail storage also gets bumped to 10GB on registering for Google Drive. Also you will get 1GB of free space on Picasa. Moreover selecting any premium plan will further increase Gmail storage to 25GB.
Google Drive is heavily integrated into Google products including Android OS, Gmail and Google Docs. One of the biggest advantages of Google Drive is Google Docs-like functionality. You can share files with other users and everyone involved can edit the same file simultaneously while changes appear on the screen instantly. There are 9 different premium plans to choose from ranging from 25GB ($2.49/month) to 16TB ($799/month).
Google Drive app is available on Windows, Mac and android. Google has announced to release an iOS app soon.
Apple's iCould offers a flawless experience on Mac and iOS devices (iPhone/iPad). It offers 5GB of free storage. Users can expand the storage to 25GB at a cost of $20 per year. Maximum storage available to iCloud users is 50GB. The biggest advantage of iCloud is that it is heavily integrated into Apple products. Users can share files across Apple's desktop and mobile platform. It also allows iPhone and iPad users to backup data online. Unfortunately, iCould has no support for other platforms. So iCloud is simply built for Apple products only.
Microsoft's SkyDrive made a lot of buzz in the market offering 25GB of free storage to its users. But earlier this month, Microsoft reduced the free storage for new users to 7GB only. It is integrated with Microsoft products like Office and Excel allowing users to share documents at a go. It also offers web based version of Microsoft Office allowing users to directly open and edit Office files in web browser.
In Windows 7, the functionality of SkyDrive is limited. But Windows 8 is expected to raise the bar with deep SkyDrive integration. Other than Windows, SkyDrive app is available for Mac, iOS and Windows Phone OS.
So how does Google fare against Apple and Microsoft in cloud storage business?
Google Drive is new and everyone is eager to know how it fares against iCloud and SkyDrive. Google Drive offers up to 16TB of online storage to its users, while expandable storage at iCloud and SkyDrive ends up at 50GB and 100GB respectively. However, SkyDrive offers the best overall value giving 25GB of expanded storage at an annual cost of $25, followed by Google Drive at $30, but you have to pay for the whole year in advance, while Google Drive has monthly subscriptions. In other words, in case of Google Drive, you can unsubscribe out of a premium plan anytime.
Google Drive also offers its own alternative to Microsoft Office. It offers a set of built-in software like word processor, spreadsheet tool, presentation software and a simple drawing program. It also allows different people to work on a project in a collaborative way.
What do you think? Which cloud storage service appeals to you? Leave your comments below.
(reported by Johnny Wills, edited by Dave Clark)
© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.