With the release of Google Drive after years of speculation and anticipation, it seems like everybody is interested in being the next big thing in cloud-based storage. Amazon’s Cloud Drive app is their entry into the competition, but it works a bit differently than the competition. Users of the Send-to-Kindle app meant to ease transfers for Kindle owners and eliminate the need for cords will feel right at home. It is honestly hard to say whether this will come to be viewed as strength or weakness as the spotlight is brought to bear on what seems to be a Google vs Microsoft vs Dropbox vs Amazon conflict.
For a while now Dropbox has been the standard in cloud storage. With their application you have a limited amount of free space and options to pay for more as needed. Files are dropped into a local computer and synced to the net where they can be automatically downloaded on any other computer you happen to log into your account on. It makes things so simple that it takes very little time to forget Dropbox is even present on the computer. I take it for granted, as do many people.
Microsoft’s most recent attempt to interest users involves a revamp of their SkyDrive system. Previously restrictive options have been removed and the whole interface now functions much like Dropbox with its automatic syncing. Users do get 7GB of free storage, which is substantial, and there are limited Office applications tied right into the web portal.
Google Drive is essentially more of the same. Google is still finding their footing so it may be too soon to criticize overly much when it comes to their interface and such, but they shine in the obvious area of in-document search function. While this is the option that started the recent surge of web storage interest, it is probably not going to be setting new standards any time soon.
Amazon, as I mentioned, works differently. There is no syncing. Every act of storage is a conscious decision that saves the exact instance of the file you are interested in rather than the most up to date at any given time. Like Send-to-Kindle, you can just use the usual “Send to…” dialogue in the Windows Explorer context menu to make any transfers. You can also use a drag and drop onto the taskbar icon, should that seem simpler.
As competition for the area of most seamless storage option, Amazon has issues. Nobody is going to find this as convenient as simply having a user-defined folder that is always up to date. It seems to be more for users of the Kindle Fire. Anything sent to the Cloud Drive is immediately and conveniently available on the Fire, so long as the internet connection is active, and since the Kindle Fire doesn’t ship with a transfer cable this will address some user complaints. This is the one situation where I truly recommend you check out Amazon’s new app. If you have a Kindle Fire, life just got a lot more convenient; if you don’t have a Kindle Fire, grab Dropbox or SkyDrive.