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Updated: Comparing Five Of The Top Web-Based Storage Solutions

Updated: Comparing Five Of The Top Web-Based Storage Solutions

April 25, 2012
Following yesterday’s Google Drive announcement, you may be wondering how Google's solution stacks up next to other Web-based storage services.  Here’s our take on five of the best.

Google Drive

While late to the cloud sharing party, Google Drive looks impressive, at least in terms of what it offers. All Google customers get 5GB of free storage. For $30/year, you’ll get 25GB, plus your Gmail Inbox will also gain 25GB. Additional premium packages are available going up to 16TB for $800 per month. File size limit is 10GB. Google Drive includes PC and Mac desktop applications, and mobile apps for Android. A universal iOS app is expected soon. Finally, Google Drive includes special features including Gmail and Google Docs integration, native support for collaborative documents and file/folder sharing. Who Owns My Data?:
As our Terms of Service make clear, ‘what belongs to you stays yours.’ You own your files and control their sharing, plain and simple. Our Terms of Service enable us to give you the services you want — so if you decide to share a document with someone, or open it on a different device, you can.


Microsoft’s SkyDrive, which recently received a nice iOS update, was first made available in 2007. Free storage starts at 7GB, with premium packages starting at 20GB for $10/per year. For $50 per year, you can upgrade to 100GB. Maximum file size limit is 2GB. SkyDrive includes PC and Mac desktop apps, plus mobile ones for iOS and Windows Phone. Native support is available for photos and collaborative documents. Who Owns My Data?:
5. Your Content: Except for material that we license to you, we don't claim ownership of the content you provide on the service. Your content remains your content. We also don't control, verify, or endorse the content that you and others make available on the service.


Founded in 2007, Dropbox is probably the first Web-based storage solution many tried and continue to use. A free membership includes 2GB, with premium packages starting at 50GB for $100/year. Additional packages are also available. File size limit is just 300MB via the Web, or unlimited from the desktop. Dropbox includes PC, Mac, and Linux desktop applications and mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Blackberry. Native support is available for photos and videos. Who Owns My Data?:
Your Stuff & Your Privacy: By using our Services you provide us with information, files, and folders that you submit to Dropbox (together, "your stuff"). You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don't claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services, as explained below.


First launched in 2011, Apple’s storage service includes 5G of free space. For $40/year, you’ll get 20GB, while a $100/year package will give you 55GB of storage. A maximum file size is 25GB for free customers, or 250GB for paying customers. While PC and Mac customers can use iCloud via the desktop, the service is limited to iOS on mobile. Finally, Apple limits the files that can be saved to those created in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. However, iCloud also includes full backup of iOS devices, plus Mail Calendar, Contacts, and Notes.) Native support is only available for photos. Who Owns My Data?
Except for material we may license to you, Apple does not claim ownership of the materials and/or Content you submit or make available on the Service. However, by submitting or posting such Content on areas of the Service that are accessible by the public or other users with whom you consent to share such Content, you grant Apple a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Service solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available, without any compensation or obligation to you.


The oldest of the Web-based storage solutions, Box offers customers 5GB of free storage, or 25GB for $10/month. File size limits are 25MB for non-paying customers or 1G for those with a paid plan. Box is available on PC and Mac, and through Android, iOS, WebOS, and BlackBerry. Native support is available for collaborative documents and includes file/folder sharing. Who Owns My Data?
Box reserves the right to share aggregated demographic information about our customers, sales, and traffic to our partners and advertisers. We will not give, sell, rent, share, or trade any of your personal information or any data that you store using our services to any third party except as outlined in this Policy or with your consent. We may disclose information to a third party to (a) comply with laws or respond to lawful requests and legal process, (b) to protect Box, agents, customers, and others including to enforce our agreements, policies and terms of use or (c) in the good faith belief that disclosure is needed to respond to an emergency, or protect the personal safety of any person.


As we indicated yesterday, the storage solution provider you choose largely depends on your individual needs. PC customers will almost certainly be happy with SkyDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Most Mac customers are using iCloud, but Apple's product isn't a full service Web-based storage solution. Therefore for Mac customers too, you can't go wrong with SkyDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Box, in our opinion, is too expensive once you get beyond their free offerings. -- Note: This article was updated to reflect additional terms of service provided to us from Google.

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