6 Options for Free Cloud Storage

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:

 

 

 

 

Dropbox | Free cloud storage, syncing, backup solution Dropbox 

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 | Free clud storage, backup solution Box.net

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 | Free Cloud storage, iTunes compatible ZumoDrive

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 | Free cloud storage, backup solution Memopal

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!

 

Windows Skydrive | Free Cloud Storage solutionSkyDrive

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 | Free Cloud Storage Google Docs

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?

Bobby Travis

Bobby isn't 40-something, but is a strong supporter of the Grown-up Geek kind. He's a loving husband and father first, but is also a freelance writer, productivity nut, operatically trained singer, and (not-so) closet geek. Check out his random thoughts, wackiness, and Instagram pics on Tumblr, Twitter, or Google+-- or just head over to bobby-travis.com.

18 Comments:

  1. 750 mb transfer for 4.5 hours?! That’s dedication man. I am a Dropbox fan. Recommend it everyone.

  2. I’ve used Dropbox, Skydrive, and Google Docs. Zumo I hadn’t heard of. As you’ve hinted at., the big issue is whether the smaller guys stick around. I’ve been burned already with MediaMax, Yahoo Briefcase, and one other I can’t remember. Most of the ones you listed seem like they’re in for the long haul, though.

    • Yeah, when I did my research, the only one I was completely unfamiliar with was Memopal. They seem heavily invested into the business backup game, though, so I doubt they are going anywhere anytime soon.

  3. Pingback: FREE: Stream Music and Movies from Computer to iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch – and Access Files Too – with ZumoCast | 40Tech

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  5. You forgot to mention one thing in the article. Does the service mess with your file in any way??
    I tried SkyDrive to dump some photos online so I could share them with others quickly and easily for download. I’m pulling their unedited photos down to my iPad.
    One big gotcha. SkyDrive severely reduced the photos. They were average size of 1.5mb or so and they knocked them down to 500k or so. And SkyDrive changed the size of the image regardless of how I cropped it. Not cool even if it is for free.
    Trying to find a way to exchange the photos with others ‘as is’. You know? Wish there were a simple FTP service out there that doesn’t mess with you.
    I’m going to look into paying services that just simply let me put a file up there and don’t touch it regardless of what it is. Box.net is looking attractive.

    • On a further note, have you seen LiveDrive? Unlimited storage and free trial for 14 days. Then just $6.95/month and $66.53/year. Not bad.
      Had any experience with them? Just wondering. Going to at least try it out for the 14 days. Thanks!

      dave

    • I honestly didn’t know that Skydrive did that, Dave. Very annoying. From the ones in that list, it is my least favourite as there are, in typical Microsoft fashion, way too many (often hidden) caveats that come with the seemingly expansive and free service.

      I’ve never played with LiveDrive — I tend to opt more for services that I can use for free, wherever possible — but I would be very interested in hearing about your experience with it!

      In the meantime, if you are looking for a photosharing/storage service that lets you easily deal with full resolution photos and is not Flickr, you should check out the following two posts, both are fantastic options for photo sharing “as is”:

      Yogile: http://www.40tech.com/2010/11/17/use-yogile-to-easily-create-group-photo-albums/

      Ge.tt: http://www.40tech.com/2011/01/13/ge-tt-file-sharing-for-the-technology-challenged/

      You might also want to try photoshop.com, as it’s service and internal editing tools are very good.

      • Bobby,
        Thanks for getting back to me. I have been playing with LiveDrive for a few days and it is pretty good for sharing and doesn’t change the files at all. But it does require you to sign up for their service to upload. While I don’t mind giving my account to my friends so they can upload any pictures, it is almost there. My account, right? I should be able to allow others to upload stuff too if I give them permissions.
        And you do need to the premium account to share. Aka $16.95/month. A little steep but might be worth it for a month or two just to get the photos back and forth with each other.

        Thanks for the other sites too. I think I’ll check them out too and see. Like you, I’m always up for the free services. I would much rather do that. Thank, again!

        dave

      • Not a problem, Dave! If all your after is easy photo sharing, I think you might like those services. Let me know how it goes for you!

  6. There a free 3GB cloud storage for Hitachi called HitachiBackup

  7. What do you make of the new TOS @DropBox allowing them to basically use your files as they like? I droped my account to switch to an alternative not lucky so far so i turned to the less sexy UbuntuOne service… which is so far so good!

    • I have to tell you, Teniba, I’m not a fan — but I’m also not surprised. Their new “regular person friendly” terms definitely leave a large amount of room for interpretation, which is the unfortunate case when it comes to removing legalese. As one commenter on the Dropbox blog post announcing the changes said, that particular problem could be resolved by simply changing a few words to remove the element of opinion from the TOS — from “whatever we feel is necessary” to whatever is necessary.”

      The Amazon Cloud Storage TOS is very similar, but Dropbox is so entrenched along with so many services, that many people will probably opt to simply trust them or take the somewhat cynical attitude of “if you don’t want to compromise your privacy, then you shouldn’t use the web.” Unfortunately, even that attitude doesn’t cover things like use of ninttelectual property, which Dropbox is able to do without your consent, if they deem it necessary for their service — which could mean almost anything. Of course, they would have to prove that necessity in court should it come down to it, but that may also depend largely on the judge the case gets and whether they feel the contract that the user entered into was valid.

      Hopefully some of the user backlash will inspire them to tweak the wording a bit so that it is much less ambiguous.

      • It seems that Dropbox did pay attention. They have recently updated their policy’s wording as follows: “to the extent reasonably necessary for the Service. This license is solely to enable us to technically administer, display, and operate the Services.”

        Smart move. It should placate most detractors.

  8. And hey, google is the only one ipv6 reachable. Very very handy for my ipv6 only labratory.

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