Before I discuss about the top free cloud storage services available on the internet, I would like to talk a little about cloud storage and its advantages. Basically, cloud storage is nothing but visualization of your data; you generally access documents from your computer, right?; with cloud storage you’d be able to store important documents, photos, videos, music etc. on the web and access it anytime, anywhere and from any device.
The cloud storage options which I am going to discuss in this blog post are the best in the business; they have extremely high-quality services therefore you can go with anyone of them if you just want to safe-keep important documents. You can trust them with your data because each one of them is secured by 256-bit SSL encryption thus very reliable for storing sensitive files.
Let’s talk a little about the features of each of the 5 top free cloud storage services online.
Dropbox is one of the most popular and easy to use cloud services available on the Internet. It can store all sorts of files including photos, videos and documents. Over 50 million people trust Dropbox with their data; its services are so easy to use that you practically have to do nothing; just install the software on any Mac or Windows PC and drag and drop files that you need to upload. Uploaded files can be easily shared privately or publicly with your friends, family and business associates.
Dropbox is free for personal use; the personal account comes with a 2GB free storage which can be upgraded up to 25GB by referring other members; for each member you refer, Dropbox would add 500MB of storage to your account. If you are a business, or need more storage you can check out its pricing page.
Dropbox apps are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.
Competitive Advantage: Dropbox is very easy to use, if you don’t want to get technical with cloud storage, Dropbox is really what you need. The Dropbox software, once installed on your PC stays in your system tray; you can easily open the “public folder” and add files to it, you can also access the public link from the public folder which means just copy the link to your clipboard and share it via email, Facebook or Twitter. It’s that convenient.
Google Drive is the youngest kid in this business; launched just a few days ago, Google Drive has been professionally designed to meet security, flexibility and accessibility needs of the business class. For personal usage, it’s not very different from Gmail, besides you get a professionally crafted layout of all your files, photos and documents.
In addition to being a good cloud storage service, Google drive is a very social cloud service, it’s fully integrated with Google Plus and because of that you can instantly share docs with friends, colleagues et cetera. It has been designed to work as a great team sync tool, you can easily access documents other members of your team has upload, view them, edit them and even comment on the work. It would certainly help team leaders assess work of their team members and assist them in real-time.
Google Drive is currently limited to United States and a few other countries but Google would release this service in India very soon. It’s free to join; you get 5GB of free storage but if you want more you can easily upgrade to 25GB for less than $2.50 a month. Also, it is supported on Mac, PC, iPhone & iPad (app coming soon) and Android devices.
Competitive Advantage: Google drive has complete access to other service that Google offers like Google Plus and Google Docs. With Google drive you would not only be able to access files on the go but create new ones, edit the ones that exist and easily share them with your circles. Also, it is a brilliant tool for companies and association, with Google’s servers backing up the data; one can expect Google drive to be lightning fast.
JustCloud is another popular name in the cloud storage industry; it basically works on the same principle that we have talked about earlier in this blog post. You can select the files to upload; you can view them anywhere, anytime, and from any device and you can share them with anybody publicly or privately.
Files stores on JustCloud can be accessed, not edited from various devices including Mac computers, PCs, Smartphones, Tablets et cetera. JustCloud is a typical cloud storage service with no innovative attribute, except for the unlimited storage which also comes at a condition.
JustCloud offers 5GB of free storage to all its members which can be upgraded to unlimited by referring two other members.
Competitive Advantage: The service is quite easy to use and the unlimited storage has its merits.
Box cloud storage is somewhat similar to Google drive, but since Box.com has been online for years we can’t neglect it from this list of top free cloud storage service available on the web. Box offers 5GB free service to all its members which you can upgrade to 25GB for $9.99/month.
Box is one of the quickest clouds in the market; it can be accessed from Mac, PC and all sorts of Smart mobile devices including Android, iOS operating phones and tablets. As I said before, Box is similar to Google drive; you can share large corporate files including PPT files within your colleagues, edit files uploaded by them, comment on their work and even assign them tasks. By the way, your colleagues can do the same to you. In addition to that, you also get updates of files including who edited, when edited and what edited thus Box’s cloud can make team project a lot organized.
Competitive Advantage: Box is an ideal cloud storage company; it offers great flexibility to its users. In short it is Google Drive minus the cheap pricing, Google Docs, and Google Plus integration.
In my opinion, Microsoft Skydrive is the most useful cloud storage service available on the web because it not only offers 7GB of free storage, and sharing for all my documents, pictures and videos but also free Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote processors. I can use these processors to create documents, and presentations from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Although Microsoft Skydrive is available for iPhone, iPad and Android device, it has been completely integrated into Windows powered Smartphone which is a big reason why Windows Phones are considered great for the business class. Also you can associate several apps with your Skydrive, for example, there’s an app called HandyScan which can be used to scan physical documents, now when you have associated the HandyScan app with Skydrive, each of your scanned docs would be stored automatically on the Skydrive, isn’t that convenient?
Free version of Skydrive is powered by Ads which can be removed by purchasing additional storage; pricing is as follows:-
- 20GB additional storage for $10/yr
- 50GB additional storage for $25/yr
- 100GB additional storage for $50/yr
Competitive Advantage: I trust Microsoft blindly because their products offer users high value for their money. Microsoft Skydrive offers premium quality features for business professionals for Free. Skydrive’s USP is its highly specific target audience – people who use Windows phones and computers.
The Final Verdict
As I said at the beginning of this blog post that each of the above cloud services are the best in the market, if you’re looking to use a conventional cloud storage model then you can proceed with any of these but if you are a professional who wants to use cloud services for collaboration, I would suggest to go with Microsoft Skydrive, Box.com or wait for Google drive. And, if you want to use the cloud for storing, and sharing personal data then there’s nothing better than Dropbox, it’s safe, convenient and totally awesome.