Cloud Storage: Free, Free, Free ... but differences

Quick recommendation:

  • Use Dropbox for:
    • free private website publishing
    • free document storage and access
  • Use Microsoft SkyDrive for storage and sharing of folders of photos in original photo sizes


DropBox is the most seamless and effective service I have found.

  • Best unique attribute:  Relative URL's:  This means that if you create a website within the public are of your drop box that has lost of pages, images, file links etc all within the website folder, these links will work like any other website !  In othe words, FREE and easy continuously automatically updated "private" website.
    The privacy depends on the complexity of the site folder name within the public folder.  Anyone with any link to your public folder will know the address of your public folder, but they cannot browse it to see what is in it.  If you name your web folder 2rt3tt4y5y5, then it is secure against searches.  It is NOT secure if someone you share the link with posts it on facebook or sends it to others !
  • Free 2 Gb (but with the ability to get more space  if people join with your recommendation link, or if you set it up to auto upload your photos
  • Mac & PC installers as well as iPhone an diPad apps that "just work" without further intervention.  One folder on your computer is just magically synchronised all the time with the same folder on all your computers and devices. 
  • Public folder to share large files and photos quickly without having to attach anything to the email 

(Would like to see an extra option added: "Email Link to this file")

  • Share folders whose contents are automatically shared with all the peoplr that are woring together on a project document.  If one person changes the document, the changes are automaticaly copied to all other team folders.

  • Best unique attribute:  Easiest sharing of browsable folders via email link from phone app, ipad app or computer.  (See Sharing photos with SkyDrive) All services allow easy sharing of individual files. Dropbox allows creation of shared folders from the website interface, but I can't do it  from the ipad or the phone.
    Skydrive app allows easy uploading of a set of photos (but NOT documents), and then immediate sending of email link to all of them.  This allows download of any of the folders original size photos immediately.
    Document uploads have to be done from the web interface. Apps like GoodReader or iAnnotate, cannot connect to SkyDrive (as they can to DropBox and Box.net.)
  • Larger free storage (starts at 7Gb, and for long time hotmail/ live users it is up to 25 Gb).  Paid space is also cheap ($10 per year for extra 20Gb)

Google Drive
  • Free storage plans are more complex (5Gb in Drive plus 1 Gb in Picasa Photo library plus 10Gb in Gmail plus unlimited (but reduced image size in Google+). Paid space is also cheap ($30 per year for extra 25Gb).
  • Photo sharing with Google Plus or picasa is an unreliable mess at the moment with Google trying to force all sharing to be through Google+ with other Google+ users only (copying facebook).  there IS a "share by email only" within Picasa online interface, but it is hard to find within google+ and non existent on the iPhone or iPad 
BoxNet

  • 5Gb Free.
  • No installers for Mac or Windows to manage a local auto synchronise folder, BUT  iPhoen and iPad apps

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This post contains some responses to questions that I have been asked by various people over the last few years. In most cases, I have also posted the information on relevant online community forums such as moodle.org. I hope that you find this useful. Stephen Digby