It’s free (so long as you don’t use too much storage). It’s easy (set it up and mostly forget about it). And it works (so far; I still remember MobileMe). What’s not to like about storing valuable data in the cloud.
Why Does Everyone Want My Stuff?
The computing landscape has plenty of options to store files somewhere in the cloud. Apple has iCloud but that’s just one of many solutions designed to control my files for a price.
Amazon has Amazon Cloud Drive, an online storage option for documents, videos, and music. A little storage is free. A lot of storage is not.
Google is in the act, too, with Google Drive, another cloud service for Windows PCs, Macs, iPhone and iPad, and, of course, Android devices.
The story is the same with each. Initial storage of a few gigabytes is free, but the more you use, the more you pay. What’s going on? Why do all these companies want my files?
For some of us, OS X or iOS users, cloud storage is a must to keep some data in sync between devices. iCloud works well for Contacts and Calendar, some photos, iBooks, Safari bookmarks, and even music in iTunes.
iCloud goes a few steps further than other services for OS X and iOS users and integrates access to cloud storage within applications.
Maybe cloud storage is in its infancy, but I have many gigabytes of music, movies, TV shows, and documents that, if stored online, would drive up the monthly cost by a substantial amount.
That’s a cost I’m not willing to pay. Apple mitigates the storage cost somewhat by making it easy to access your iTunes-purchased music from any Apple device, and not be charged for the storage.
My Mac is home to over 100-gigabytes of iPhoto photos and video clips. A mere 50GB of iCloud storage is $100 a year. That may be competitive with other services, but it’s an ongoing expense I’m not yet willing to tackle.
Worse, despite the blazing speed of my new iPhone 5 on Verizon, I pay for 4G LTE bandwidth, so it’s unlikely that I want to download too much music or files or photos or documents from the cloud. The meter is running.
So, like most users, I dabble in cloud storage because I’m not convinced it’s in my best interests to have everything stored and accessible from the cloud.
I have the basics in iCloud– Contacts, Calendar, Photo Stream, Safari Bookmarks– but not much else, and both bandwidth and storage prices need to drop considerably before I’m willing to add more of my silver to the cloud.
What about you? Do you use iCloud or another cloud service to store files? If so, which ones and why? If not, why not?