Competing Cloud Computing Options for the Individual (Part 1)
Individuals seeking no-cost or low-cost cloud computing options have several options available to them. Microsoft’s SkyDrive service now offers 7 GB (gigabytes) of free online storage space for those who have a live.com or hotmail.com email account; this was recently downgraded from 25 GB to 7 GB for new registrants after April 22, 2012 but longer term users of SkyDrive can regain this additional storage space by signing in here to SkyDrive. SkyDrive is available for Windows, Macintosh, iPad and mobile platforms.
Microsoft published a chart that compared Skydrive with other cloud computing services Apple iCloud, Google Documents, and Dropbox on the basis of: files available across computers (i.e. Windows, Macintosh, Web, Remote access); accessing files by mobile devices (i.e. iPhone and iPad, Windows Phone, Android, and Mobile web); ability to work together collaboratively online; free note-taking apps for one’s phone; simple file sharing (including large file support); and free storage limit for any file type (7 GB for SkyDrive, 5 GB for Apple iCloud, 1 GB for Google Documents, and 2 GB for Dropbox). The free storage limits were correct for Google Documents as listed until earlier today (April 24, 2012) when Google increased the free storage limit on Google Documents to 5 GB as a precursor to its introduction this afternoon of Google Drive with 5 GB of free storage capacity. Google is also increasing the storage capacity in Gmail email accounts from 7.5 GB to 10 GB over a 24-hour period.
Google Drive gives the holders of Google accounts access to Google Documents with the ability to work on/collaborate with others on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Files can be safely stored online and accessed from a PC or Mac with Google Drive installed or from an Android phone or tablet using the downloaded Drive app. Google account holders also have the benefit of searching files by keyword and limiting by owner, file type etc. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology facilitates textual recognition in scanned documents.
Next time, we will take a closer look at how some of the cloud computing options stack up against one another...