Life in the Clouds

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is a model of networked online storage where information is stored in a remote database instead of your computer’s hard drive and the internet provides the connection between your computer and the database. It is wonderful to have a cloud drive for backing up your important data and ensuring it’s available to you wherever and whenever you need it, but there are pros and cons to being dependent on cloud storage. While choices abound, there are some that do a better job than others. Here are five that you could try out.

Google Drive

It’s from Google! That instantly puts it among our favourites. Not necessarily because it’s the best, but because it’s the most convenient. Most of us have a Gmail ID and therefore will use Google’s other services at some point. So leaving documents on the Drive is just easier. All you have to do is login to your Gmail account and choose Drive to view your documents.

Drive allows you to share the documents with individuals or groups of users and also decide if they can edit them. Syncing occurs whenever you are connected. Free accounts offer 5GB space but more is available if you want it.

Dropbox

One of the pioneers of cloud storage, Dropbox has been making steady progress in becoming the de facto cloud service. And they’re getting there! Recent upgrades to the service offer native integration with Mac and Windows (like Drive). This makes Dropbox another folder on your computer.

While they offer all the features of Drive, they go one further for business users. Mobile integration on Dropbox is a tad better than Drive. It also proactively starts backing up photos from your smartphone to your account. Sooner or later, you will be tempted to upgrade to a paid account. These start at about Rs 5,000 per year.

Picasa/Flickr

Where are all your photos? On your phone? Computer? Email account? Facebook? External hard disks? Basically, all over the place! It’s worth investing some money (approximately Rs 1,500 per year for Flickr) and getting a dedicated place to store and share these. As with documents, it’s a smart thing to have photos you want to cherish for a long time secured in the cloud. While Picasa offers offline storage and editing solutions, Flickr is totally online.

Tip: Both services are also good to upload and backup your videos too.

Evernote/Pocket/Keep

Now that your documents and photos are secure and in the cloud, it’s time to get your web activities secured. There’s a host of links you like and notes you make that are eventually lost somewhere. And perhaps with them, a million-dollar idea! No more! Evernote is the oldest of the lot for taking quick notes and simply ‘clipping’ things you like on the web for future use. Pocket is exclusively for storing links on the web. Keep is the newest of the lot and powered by Google.

So there you have it. Your data at your fingertips. No worries about crashed hard drives or lost devices. Just sign in to your accounts from any place or device and you’ll be up to date in no time!

Originally published in The Goan.

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