Since the buzz around cloud computing was created few years ago, the cloud market was being rapidly populated. Now there are dozens or even hundreds of providers that offer cloud storage services. The reason is clearly a growing readiness of users to adopt the cloud. In the beginning people were weighting advantages of the cloud against its disadvantages and hesitated to move their files to cloud storage. Now it seems there’s not much point in refusing to join this newest trend.
With the increasing number of individual users and companies announcing their movement to the cloud, major cloud storage providers develop and the competition in the cloud grows. While Dropbox still seems to be the king of user-oriented cloud service, the companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft are not far behind it.
Google Drive was introduced on April 24th this year and has instantly become a darling of faithful Gmail users. Though a lot of negative buzz surrounded Google Drive upon its launch, now it seems that the situation settled and the users freely choose it as their major cloud provider. Its excellent integration with Google Docs, Google Search and Google + is probably the main reason the users turn to Google Drive.
As for Dropbox, they don’t seem to be afraid by a growing number of competitors. They regularly introduce new features so their service would always be up to date with users’ requirements. Dropbox’s simplicity is most often quoted as its best feature for attracting potential customers. However, even though its interface is very simple and intuitive this doesn’t mean it lacks in features.
Microsoft’s SkyDrive has always had many fans among Hotmail and Live users. Their main differentiator in relation to the competition was their 25 GB of free storage offer. Though they have recently cut this to 7 GB per free account, this is still better than what most of the other providers offer – 2 GB in Dropbox and 5 in Google Drive. Besides this, it provides excellent integration with Microsoft Office documents which is a major incentive for businesses to choose SkyDrive.
Finally, Apple’s iCloud remains the king among the Apple fanatics. Taking into account the popularity of i-devices today, it’s no wonder that iCloud has 125 million users. Clearly, not all of them are active and some of them are not even aware of iCloud’s existence on their iPhones, but still the number of its fans is huge. The best reason to use iCloud is probably iTunes Match which allows users to store music that was not purchased through iTunes.
It’s not easy to say which of these four giants is the strongest in the cloud storage market because different users have different requirements. Teenage iPhone users are not very likely to care about the integration with Office documents, but a contemporary employee may for this reason choose SkyDrive. In addition to this, no one actually prohibits the use of multiple cloud storage services, so perhaps the best option is to take them all and make the best of each of them.