Dec 7, 2011 — by: Karl Johnson
Categories: iCloud

A cloud service is basically a hard drive in a data center that allows users to store their data or files on the Internet. These services are increasing in their popularity as developers create more useful features. Apple is one of those developers who has thrown their hat into the ring with iCloud.

Cloud based services are continuing to evolve at a rapid rate as new features are added and new players emerge. This article will look at some of the more popular cloud services and compare them with each other. The services include: iCloud, Dropbox, SugarSync, box, Amazon's Cloud Drive, Google's cloud services and LaCie's Wuala.

Older Cloud services, like Apple's iDisk, were a place where users could upload or download a file or files from an Internet server. This method is slow and does not give the user access to those files when offline. Dropbox was one of the first cloud services that took a different approach by making "Syncing to the Cloud" a must-have feature. Files are now uploaded and downloaded across multiple computers and devices without any users intervention. Without syncing, a cloud service is practically useless these days. Following are a review of some cloud services.

box: box allows users to upload, download and share files on the Internet. Personal accounts do not include cloud syncing, while a business version does for $15 per month. box has had some special promotions for extra storage space.

Amazon's Cloud Drive: Amazon's Cloud Drive is another old school cloud service, since it does not provide syncing. Amazon wants users to buy their content and to store that content in the cloud where they can access it on multiple devices. Amazon's Cloud Drive is really meant for media storage and not for other data. Yet, even for media files, Cloud Drive can't stand up to the top services available today. Amazon needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with something much better to compete.

Google Cloud Services: Google has a number of groupware and office services in their cloud. These services include: email, calendar, bookmarks, office documents, photos, and RSS feeds. These services range from being really nice to really poor. They are all free and users can pick and choose which to use and which not to. Google does not have any file syncing features yet.

LaCie's Wuala: Wuala is a cloud syncing service for files and media. Wuala provides 2GB for free and there are plans to provide more storage. Wuala is not as well known as Dropbox or SugarSync and it does not have many partners yet on the iOS platform. If one wants access to files from iOS applications other than Wuala's own app, look elsewhere. The one big advantage with Wuala is security. Files are encrypted on the computer side and not on server side. The password is not sent to their servers, so neither Wuala nor anything else can't access the files. Wuala is one of the more secure services, but it is also much slower due to that extra security.

Continue to part 2

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