10 Free Cloud Storage Options4:00 PM EST Wed. May. 02, 2012
Free cloud storage is becoming commonplace as vendors rush to satisfy the growing demand for cloud access.
Google Drive’s release last week with 5 GB of free storage capacity, and more for a fee, was one of the most publicized moves to let individuals, and increasingly businesses, put their data in the cloud. Not to be undone by Google, several other free storage vendors tweaked their offers as well.
Continue on and check out ten of the hottest free cloud storage offerings.
After months of anticipation, Google released its cloud storage service, called Google Drive, which greatly increases storage capacity and integrates across Google's cloud platform.
Users will get 5 GB of free storage, and they can choose to upgrade to either 25 GB for $2.49 per month or 100 GB for $4.99 per month. Google storage services also offer much greater collaboration with Google Docs, which the company said is built into Google Drive.
With its free storage and paid storage upgrades, as well as its collaboration features, Google Drive is immediately a major cloud storage player.
To try to steal some of Google Drive’s cloud thunder last week, Microsoft Windows Live SkyDrive announced several improvements to its SkyDrive, including improved management features and greater integration with Windows.
But, the software giant actually reduced free storage availability from 25 GB to 7 GB. Existing SkyDrive users, however, can continue to access 25 GBs of storage.
Access to 20 GB of storage will cost users $10 per year, increasing to $25 per year for 50 GB of storage, with a maximum of 100 GB of storage priced at $50 per year.
Dropbox has also been busy. In early April, it increased its free storage limit from 2 GB to 5 GB along with a new digital image offering.
Dropbox also introduced its Camera Upload service that allows users to share documents, photos and videos by sending a link to family, friends or colleagues.
Dropbox has more than 50 million users in over 175 countries.
Along with its offer of 5 GB of free cloud storage, SugarSync in March said it would allow Facebook and Twitter users access to 500 MB of free storage if they referred others to the service through social media sites.
SugarSync refers to itself as a provider of "personal cloud services," allowing users access to their data anytime, anywhere and from any devices.
In addition, users can sync files in any folder and access and share those files via the cloud. It offers file sharing and collaboration tools so users can share folders or files with a URL on social networks, in e-mail, via instant message and more.
Apple's iCloud gives users 5 GB of free storage, with the option to expand access to 25 GB for $20 per year, capping the maximum storage availability at 50 GB.
The iCloud service is, naturally, integrated across Apple's products, and users can share files across Apple's desktop and mobile platform. Users' paid music, books and photos aren't counted against their free storage.
Box, a free cloud storage, file sharing and content management provider, offers a free 5-GB cloud drive that supports files sized from 25 MB up to 1 GB each.
In late March, Box introduced Box OneCloud, a service that lets users bring together and share mobile business applications from iPads. Box will integrate more than 30 productivity apps with OneCloud platform, including four premier apps: Quickoffice, Adobe EchoSign, Nuance PaperPort Notes, and PDF Expert.
With an Amazon account, users get access to 5 GB of free online storage on Amazon Cloud Drive to securely store music, videos, photos and documents online, with the ability to access them from any device.
If more storage space is needed, paid plans are available for storage up to 1,000 GB. In February, Amazon cut cloud storage prices by as much as 13.5 percent.
Canonical last week released an updated version of Ubuntu, upping to 5 GB from 2 GB of free cloud storage to users through its Ubuntu One platform.
The upgrade also comes with file synchronization, management and collaboration features. Users can also buy music from the Ubuntu One Music Store at $3.99 per month, or $39.99 per year.
ADrive weighs in with 50 GB of free cloud storage, along with a paid service.
The service gives users file sharing, universal service, folder/directory upload, search, remote file transfer, Zoho editor, and international character support for free as well.
The OpenDrive service provides 5 GB of free cloud storage for viewing and sharing documents and for collaboration.
The company says users can access their data from anywhere from any connection. They can upload new files or manage existing files, manage folders, and create and edit documents with OpenDrive's online office suite.