[CLOUD] Stashing Stuff Online?
Cloud storage has come a long way since 1983, when CompuServe offered its members 128 kilobytes of disk space to store any files they wished. Now it's common for cloud providers to offer multiple GIGAbytes of online storage for free. Let's take a look at the best places to store your files online...
The Evolution of Cloud Storage
Back in 1983, CompuServe cost up to $22.50 per hour - $53.54 in today’s dollars - and most dial-up modems ran at 300 bps. It would cost $60.35 just to upload 128 KB of data (less than half the capacity of a mid-1980s 5.25-inch floppy disk) if we still did things that way, and it would take over 73 minutes.
Fortunately, we now have broadband and a host of cloud storage services, most of which offer at least 2 GB of space free of charge. That’s 15,625 times more space than CompuServe offered, and at 25 Mbps (the FCC’s new minimum definition of “broadband”) it would take 80 minutes to fill it up.
AT&T introduced the “cloud” metaphor to consumers in 1994, when it launched the PersonaLink wireless data service for PDAs and portable computers, employing the term “cloud” in its TV commercials. But PersonaLink was based on a proprietary communications network, and never acquired more than 10,000 subscriber. In 1996, AT&T killed PersonaLink in favor of open Internet architecture.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) was launched in 2006, enabling on-demand rental of computing power and storage space. In 2007, Dropbox chose AWS as the backend for its consumer-friendly cloud storage service. Others have done likewise, including image-hosting service Smugmug, Pinterest, and the online operating system Synaptop. Other cloud storage services own their infrastructure.
Some cloud services, like Dropbox and Box, focus solely on file storage and syncing files between devices. Services like Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google Drive, and Apple’s iCloud are just one of many products their parent companies offer. Generally, the former are platform-agnostic while the latter work best with their sibling products.
Free storage space is a popular feature. Dropbox offers 2 GB; OneDrive, 5 GB; Box, 10 GB; Google Drive, 15 GB. If you're a photo buff, you can get a whopping 1 TB (1000 GB) of free space at Flickr to store your pics. (Flickr was recently acquired by SmugMug, so we'll see if the free space offer continues after the merger is completed.) Beyond the basic free plans, it gets complicated.
Need More Cloud Storage
Amazon Prime subscribers and owners of Amazon Fire devices get "unlimited" photo storage space, plus 5GB for other files. The 1TB+ Digital Storage plan on Amazon Drive costs $60 per year.
Dropbox offers additional free storage in exchange for desired user behaviors, such as watching the “getting started” tutorial, referring friends, or contributing to the Dropbox community forum.
Google Drive users can earn up to 1 TB of free storage space by contributing to Google Maps Local Guides. Essentially, one earns points for adding a place to Google maps, uploading a photo, reviewing the place, fixing outdated info, and answering a few questions about the place (e. g., business hours, price range). When you accumulate at least 200 points, you get 1 TB of free storage space for two years. You need an Android or iOS device to participate in this program.
Microsoft OneDrive comes with Office 365 subscriptions, including 1 TB of “free” storage ($10/month sold separately).
Need more? The cost of just buying storage space ranges all over the map but levels out at $10 per month for one Terabyte. A 50 GB OneDrive plan costs $2/month. Google Drive sells 100 GB for $2 per month and 1 TB for $6.99/month. Box charges $10 per month for 100 GB, apparently its maximum allowance per account. Dropbox has two paid plans: $10 per month for 1 TB, or $20/month for "additional space." (Yes, the sales page is vague on that important point.)
Cloud storage is great for keeping files secure and available no matter where you are or what device you’re using. But if your file collection outgrows the free storage space, cloud storage can become a significant annual expense.
Are you stashing your photos or documents in the cloud for backup, easy access, or to free up space on your hard drive? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 24 Apr 2018
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [CLOUD] Stashing Stuff Online? (Posted: 24 Apr 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved