6 Options for Free Cloud Storage
Need a way to keep your files synced and accessible from pretty much any computer, including your mobile computing devices? Want to do it on the cheap? Here are six options that can help you out:
We’ve covered Dropbox before. I’m an avid user, in fact. Dropbox is a great way to get share and sync your files across platforms. It has shell integration even on Linux, a great little iPhone app and web interface, as well as convenient Firefox and Google Chrome extensions. There’s no filesize limit and you get 2GB of storage for free — up to 3GB if you get people to sign up (256MB per person). You can even use it to watch a movie file on your iPhone — but the upload may take a while. I tried it. 750MB took 4 and a half hours…
Box.net has been around for more than a minute and they offer some great features and compatibility options (the latest Microsoft Office files, image and mp3 files, flash video, Photoshop and Illustrator and more). Their free plan only gives you 1GB of storage (25mb filesize limit) and there’s no shell integration (great web interface though), but they integrate with Google and Zoho and have a decent mobile app for the iPhone.
ZumoDrive offers 1GB of free storage with an additional 1GB if you go through their belt-gaining game (easy enough to do). The real differentiator with ZumoDrive is its ability to easily link to your iTunes library and spare yourself some storage space on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Great backup, sync and multimedia tool!
Memopal starts you off at 3GB for free and works natively on most platforms (Linux is in beta). Shell integration is decent and if you want more storage, you can get 200GB for $50 bucks per year. I only mention the paid plan here because, well – that’s pretty frickin’ good!
SkyDrive is a Microsoft’s cloud storage offering (Live Mesh is another, but you can’t manipulate files via the web). This is a great option if you have lots of small files to share. By small, I mean 50MB filesize max. By lots… I mean 25GB. Yep, you read me right — 25GB of free storage sitting right in your Windows Live account. Who knew? There is no built in shell extension, but you can (on Windows, anyway) install SkyDrive Explorer to handle that. It works pretty well, and can apparently bypass the filesize limit with the pro version. Not the easiest for general (non-windows) mobile access though…
Google Docs recently added the ability to upload any type of file. Their upload filesize limit is 1GB and you get 1GB of storage for free. If you convert files to Google Docs formats the space they take up is significantly smaller — and the 1GB seems to be on top of regular Google Docs use thus far, and your Gmail and Picasa storage (7GB and 1GB, respectively) is separate as well. Google does have plans for purchase as well, if you need more, with a yearly pricing scheme that is comparable to Memopal’s.
Bonus option (Windows Users) – Speaking of Gmail storage, if you want to put your excess Gmail storage to good use, check out viksoe.dk for the GMail Drive shell extension. It’s not a perfect solution and not stable as it depends on Gmail’s framework remaining the same, but 7GB is a lot of storage for just email so it may be a good option for some.
What’s your favourite cloud storage app?