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Author Topic: Comparison of FREE Cloud Storage services.  (Read 4415 times)

IainB

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Comparison of FREE Cloud Storage services.
« on: June 03, 2015, 11:11:27 AM »
EDIT: 2015-06-07 0524hrs: Title of this opening post was changed to reflect what this thread seems to be turning into.

OneDrive v. Google Drive?
I have been mulling over this comparison for a while.
As far as I am aware, OneDrive does not muck about with (e.g., alter or compress) your files, whereas Google Drive does.
From experience, for documents, Google Drive/Docs will create "GDocs" copies of some of your files, and duplicate them, then later delete and update them to new formats. All without the user's say-so.
The duplication comes from when they changed "labels" to "folders", thus forcing duplication of documents which you had tagged with multiple labels. That seriously pissed me off. The labelling was a brilliant idea and they should have left well enough alone.
For images and videos, Gdrive is unreliable in Picasa, because they compress your images/videos, and it's a one-way lossy compression, so you can't rely on Gdrive for uncorrupted backup of your photos OR videos.
So, from my perspective, Gdrive is unreliable - not so OneDrive.

However, I don't really have that much experience of OneDrive, except that it does a sterling job with my OneNote Notebooks and User Preferences syncing and MS Office document storage/backup (as one would expect), but I was unsure of the image/video storage aspects.

What I wanted was someone else to tell me about their greater experience.

I just found this by Glen Lipka:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Google Drive vs. Microsoft OneDrive
2015-06-02

I have been using OneDrive for a while now as our cloud service. However, complaints have forced me to reconsider. Here is a quick summary of my thoughts on the subject.

Pricing
OneDrive pricing.
15 GB    Free
100 GB    $1.99/month
200 GB    $3.99/month
1 TB    $6.99/month (includes Office 365)

Google Drive Pricing.
15 GB    Free
100 GB    $1.99/month
1 TB    $9.99/month (includes Google Apps)

They both offer office apps, but the full Microsoft Office suite is much more powerful and has both online and offline versions. With that said, Google is still 50% more expensive at the 1TB level.

Price Winner: Microsoft
___________________________________

Displaying Pictures/Videos
I have alot of photos online. I used to use Picassa, but it just didn’t the one feature I needed – folders! I organize my photos by year and then by month. Tags aren’t always good enough. I loved the Picasa photo editor, especially the red-eye removal, but without folders it just wasn’t going to work for me. Recently, Picasa has been merging into Google+. Actually, it’s pretty confusing what is happening there. I don’t use Google+, so I just don’t know what to think about their solution. With Picasa, YouTube, Google+ and Drive it is hard to understand what Google is doing. It feels like a lack of leadership/coordination to me.

On the other side, Microsoft does a great job of creating a nice interface for pictures. It has lightboxes and plenty of options. No red-eye removal, but the experience for viewers has been pretty good. My only complaint for Microsoft has been the lack of proper codecs to display DivX videos. It can display simpler formats, but I usually compress my videos using the DivX converter so they take up less space.

Display Winner: Microsoft
___________________________________

Sync Stability
If Microsoft had this part of the system under control, I would just give them the crown. It’s a better UI at a better price. However, the sync stability has been a nightmare. They are trying to embed this into the operating system, but honestly, they just fucked it up royally. Constant sync errors and confusing UI makes me worried about losing files constantly. The error icon is constant and the solution (re-open the file) is sketchy at best. Microsoft Office asks me the question, “Do you want to keep the server version or yours?”. This would be fine if they gave me a way to DIFF the two versions. How the hell should I know which is the right version?! They were supposed to be sync’d. No one else is editing!

You can see how Sync problems are by far the most infuriating issue. The importance of a stable sync can not be exaggerated.  Google’s sync, seems to be much more elegant. The progress of the sync is much clearer. It also asks you if you mean to delete on both the server and local. (Microsoft is unclear when this happens). The speed seems ok so far.  I have to test it more, but right now…

Winner: Google
___________________________________

Sharing and Identity Management
They basically have the same sharing model. However, Microsoft wants you to use their Microsoft account and Google wants you to use their Google account. (Duh!) So it comes down to which one of those accounts is more prevalent in people’s lives, especially me and my family.  The answer is: We all use GMail. None of us use Microsoft. My phone is Google, my watch is Google.

Microsoft has tried numerous times to improve their email client, but ultimately, I keep having spam problems. Using GMail (and most recently Inbox) eliminates spam from my life. I’m not switching. Also, the Microsoft Phone is still DOA, so I am not buying that either.

Winner: Google
___________________________________

Summary – Split Decision!
So for now, I switched all of my normal files to Google Drive but left all of the photos and video at OneDrive. There are fewer sync problems with photos because I am not actively editing them.  I will experiment with the photos at Google, but the extra storage expense is making me wary.

I hope this comparison helped you in some way. I’m just trying to educate, engage and entertain.  Not always in that order.
___________________________________

In my case, OneDrive would seem to be:
  • The winner on price. (From the costs given in the above.)
  • The winner on display. (I learned that from the above.)
  • The winner on sync. (From my experience, though syncing images/videos has yet to be tested by me.)
  • The winner on Sharing and Identity Management. (Outlook being far superior in functionality and integration with Social Networking.)
  • The winner on Data Integrity & Security. (QED).

Couple this with the Cavalier approach of Google in it unilateral killing-off of Google products, leaving the users with nothing else, then any Google user would probably be wise to reconsider whether their data was actually safe in Google's hands. The reverse would seem to be more clearly the case.
So, it looks like it's "Goodbye Google" from me to even more of their services, in addition to those they have already pulled.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 12:32:25 PM by IainB »

wraith808

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2015, 11:29:59 AM »
I must say, in my limited use, it's never been onedrive vs. google drive.  It's been both vs. Dropbox and Cubby.  Dropbox for simple stuff and so much integrates with it, and Cubby for my heavy lifting, because I can turn any folder into a cubby.  Onedrive and Google don't beat on either of these points.  Though I have 1TB as part of my subscription to office, I don't use it for that reason.

Jibz

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2015, 12:00:15 PM »
As far as I am aware, OneDrive does not muck about with (e.g., alter or compress) your files, whereas Google Drive does.
From experience, for documents, Google Drive/Docs will create "GDocs" copies of some of your files, and duplicate them, then later delete and update them to new formats. All without the user's say-so.

Drive -> Settings -> Convert uploaded files to Google Docs format?

dr_andus

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2015, 12:08:41 PM »
IainB, I'd second wraith808 in that Google Drive and OneDrive are not like other cloud backup or file services (Dropbox etc.), because their focus is on drawing in the user into their ecosystem, and because of that there will be some limitations that you've pointed out. So, for backup services or plain vanilla file storage, transfer and syncing, more generic services (Dropbox etc.) will always be better.

However, once you're aware of those limitations, you can still get a lot of value out of Google Drive and OneDrive for the right kind of use, just don't try to use them for everything and don't put all your faith into them. E.g. I'm a Google Drive user but only for certain types of files, and whenever possible, I'd use the Google doc versions.

Couple this with the Cavalier approach of Google in it unilateral killing-off of Google products, leaving the users with nothing else, then any Google user would probably be wise to reconsider whether their data was actually safe in Google's hands.

That's not entirely fair. They always give you plenty of advance warning (6 months) and ways to export your data. Also, Google Drive is a lot more central to their ecosystem than the services they killed off so far.

Shutting down Google Drive would mean abandoning Chrome OS and crippling the Chrome browser project, Gmail etc., just when everything is moving towards the cloud. I'm not saying it's impossible but it sounds very unlikely and would be a catastrophic event, such as going bankrupt or being acquired by a hostile competitor.

I'd say MS is on more shaky grounds regarding their strategy than Google at the moment. How many times has MS re-launched their cloud service in recent years? In comparison, Google's cloud approach was a steady, incremental expansion.

Moreover, Google doesn't need to convince its users to become cloud users, as they already are. MS, on the other hand, has been having great difficulty convincing its users. The free OS upgrade is the last ditch effort to convert them en masse to the cloud, and in many ways is mimicking Google's Chrome OS strategy.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 12:22:06 PM by dr_andus »

wraith808

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2015, 02:00:45 PM »
I'd say MS is on more shaky grounds regarding their strategy than Google at the moment. How many times has MS re-launched their cloud service in recent years? In comparison, Google's cloud approach was a steady, incremental expansion.

That was for beta reasons in one case and legal reasons in the other, not because of any sort of repositioning- therefore I don't think that's entirely fair.

It started out as Windows Live Folders in beta.  When launched, they called it skydrive.  Then because of (stupid) trademark ruling and the fact they didn't want to pay sky for nothing, it became onedrive.[1]

dr_andus

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2015, 02:48:16 PM »
That was for beta reasons in one case and legal reasons in the other, not because of any sort of repositioning- therefore I don't think that's entirely fair.

OK, I'll take your point about that. However, my main argument was that for MS the cloud is an afterthought, a bandwagon they are trying to jump on, trying to force users to start saving their stuff on the cloud, while Google is ahead on that game, as the search, Gmail, Google Calendar etc. started off as cloud services, so it's a smaller step to start using Drive.

I was quite willing to go with the MS cloud service, but I just found it clunky compared to Google Drive (which is not perfect either but I find it a smoother user experience). 

Stoic Joker

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2015, 02:55:59 PM »
Sync Stability[/b]
If Microsoft had this part of the system under control, I would just give them the crown. It’s a better UI at a better price. However, the sync stability has been a nightmare. They are trying to embed this into the operating system, but honestly, they just fucked it up royally. Constant sync errors and confusing UI makes me worried about losing files constantly. The error icon is constant and the solution (re-open the file) is sketchy at best. Microsoft Office asks me the question, “Do you want to keep the server version or yours?”. This would be fine if they gave me a way to DIFF the two versions. How the hell should I know which is the right version?! They were supposed to be sync’d. No one else is editing!

You can see how Sync problems are by far the most infuriating issue. The importance of a stable sync can not be exaggerated.

While they're right about OneDrives abysmal sync behavior, IMO they're also a bit too kind. If you're syncing multiple locations/devices (I do) to the OneDrive the sync devolves into total chaos. And god help you if you make the mistake of opening a file in both locations - not editing it, just opening it - because now you'll have 3 copies of the file (renamed by location) all of which are just a teensy bit different...enough to throw sync errors until hell wont have it.

Mine currently say 4 files couldn't be synced. Now as to which 4 files that might be I haven't a $&%^#%^#%$&$ clue...because it doesn't apparently feel that that information is pertinent.

Stoic Joker

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2015, 03:05:19 PM »
It started out as Windows Live Folders in beta.  When launched, they called it skydrive.  Then because of (stupid) trademark ruling and the fact they didn't want to pay sky for nothing, it became onedrive.[1]

The folks (idiots) that were in it from the beginning (like me) got free "loyalty upgrades" a few years back. Which is why I (became foolish enough to try actually using it) have 50GB of free (for "life..." - Ha!) storage on OneDrive.

wraith808

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2015, 03:09:56 PM »
It started out as Windows Live Folders in beta.  When launched, they called it skydrive.  Then because of (stupid) trademark ruling and the fact they didn't want to pay sky for nothing, it became onedrive.[1]

The folks (idiots) that were in it from the beginning (like me) got free "loyalty upgrades" a few years back. Which is why I (became foolish enough to try actually using it) have 50GB of free (for "life..." - Ha!) storage on OneDrive.

Me too.  So I actually have 1TB,50GB :)  And I barely use in the MB :)

wraith808

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2015, 03:12:40 PM »
That was for beta reasons in one case and legal reasons in the other, not because of any sort of repositioning- therefore I don't think that's entirely fair.

OK, I'll take your point about that. However, my main argument was that for MS the cloud is an afterthought, a bandwagon they are trying to jump on, trying to force users to start saving their stuff on the cloud, while Google is ahead on that game, as the search, Gmail, Google Calendar etc. started off as cloud services, so it's a smaller step to start using Drive.

I was quite willing to go with the MS cloud service, but I just found it clunky compared to Google Drive (which is not perfect either but I find it a smoother user experience). 

I'm not sure about syncing, but as far as brand problems, both of them have them as their services morph.  From documents to drive back to documents... it's very annoying. And the way that they handle anything that's not one of their formats is what drove me away.  Not what IainB was saying earlier... but just trying to get access to them.  It's very clunky.  And now that they're all in different apps it sucks even more using their ecosystem for files.  I don't know who thought that was a good idea.

dr_andus

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2015, 03:32:48 PM »
From experience, for documents, Google Drive/Docs will create "GDocs" copies of some of your files, and duplicate them, then later delete and update them to new formats. All without the user's say-so.

I haven't had that experience, maybe that was before my time.

But I think there is a difference between saying that "Google changes your files arbitrarily" and saying that when opening and editing MS Office files in Google Drive, they may get converted to Google doc formats, whether the user realises or not - but it's due to the user's actions and choices.

As far as I can tell, a .docx file stays a .docx file, as long as you don't try to edit it directly in the Drive environment. If you do, depending on what browser you use, different things might happen. In Chrome (at least in Chrome OS), you get the option to view and edit it in Office Compatibility Mode or save it as Google Docs. In Firefox in Windows, the .docx file opens in a viewer, and then it gives you the option to edit it as a Google Doc or use other 3rd party app.

Now, an MS user may expect Google to provide full compatibility for an MS product, but Google is not really obliged to do so for a competitor's product and they have every right to try to convince the user to start using Google products. So I'm not so bothered about lack of perfect compatibility.

On the other hand, I'm a lot more annoyed when I'm editing an MS Word docx file in MS Word Online, and then I find that the resulting file is all messed up (e.g. formatting of tables) when I open it in Windows again. It's MS's own service, so I'd be justified to expect compatibility with its own product...

J-Mac

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2015, 01:21:55 AM »
Odd there's no mention yet of Amazon's Cloud Drive. Amazon recently set a new standard for pricing: Unlimited storage for $59.99 per year. I was already using Amazon S3 for my backups (in addition to my 1 TB Dropbox account). Now I have added the unlimited Cloud Drive. Worth a look, anyway.

https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/home

Jim

Jibz

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2015, 03:04:30 AM »
At first look that seems great. I wonder what I would use it for though.

For quickly storing/sharing low-priority stuff, there are so many free services, and many of them (Google Drive, DropBox, etc.) have great integration with all kinds of devices and services. And I rarely use more than a few GB for that, so unlimited storage would be a waste of money.

The other use would be for backup of my "important" files. But with no client-side encryption (I can't even tell if they encrypt the data on their end), it doesn't really beat CrashPlan/SpiderOak.

Of course it might help drive down the prices of the other services, which would be great.

The one interesting option to me would be the unlimited photo storage, which unlike some of the others supports RAW files, and promises to keep your originals. It would be a relatively cheap second online backup of all my RAW files at $12/y.

IainB

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Re: Comparison of FREE Cloud Storage services.
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2015, 12:33:17 PM »
EDIT: 2015-06-07 0524hrs: Title of this opening post was changed to reflect what this thread seems to be turning into.

This especially interesting review was what encouraged me to make the edit:
Comparison of 15 Best Free Cloud Storage Services

By the way, don't lose sight of what risks you run with Tresorit - refer Tresorit - Cloud storage service (FREE) - Mini-Review. (WARNING!)

dr_andus

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Re: Comparison of FREE Cloud Storage services.
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2015, 01:18:42 PM »
This especially interesting review was what encouraged me to make the edit:
Comparison of 15 Best Free Cloud Storage Services

Thanks. These sort of comparisons imply though that one should choose ONE best service for one's needs. But, as discussed earlier, there are good reasons (such as one's investment into a particular ecosystem - sorry for the buzzword again) to use several of these for different reasons.

E.g. I have an automatic daily backup service for my PC (as insurance against hard drive failure, fire, flood, theft etc.), which I use for nothing else (Mozy). This is the only one I pay for.

Then I use Google Drive for spreadsheets, PDFs and other docs that I work on a daily basis on and need quick and universal access to (and it's convenient on a Chromebook).

I also use OneDrive occasionally, but only to edit MS Word docs on MS Word Online (when I don't have access to a PC, such as on a Chromebook).

And I still use Dropbox with some apps that can only save to that or when I need to preserve an MS doc's format 100% and have to share it with other people (or myself, using a Win netbook), staying within Win environments.

P.S. Come to think of it, it's the proliferation of OS's and standards (and incompatibilities between them) that drive me to use multiple services. But maybe it's not a bad idea to keep eggs in multiple baskets...

Innuendo

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Re: OneDrive v. Google Drive?
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2015, 01:59:56 PM »
It strikes me that if OneDrive has syncing problems, then that's a deal-breaker and one should look elsewhere.

It also strikes me that if GoogleDrive alters files and file formats, then that too is a deal-breaker and one should look elsewhere.

Between, Dropbox, Box, Amazon S3, and a host of other companies out there there should not be too much difficulty finding a suitable replacement for these two broken services.

Having said that, if it were me, I'd explore the possibility of buying a NAS and setting up my one cloud-syncing solution.


As an aside, if someone's of the opinion that Microsoft is not as adept as Google at discontinuing products or services, one is mistaken. As for hardware, does anyone remember the MS Commander game controller? The Microsoft 900 MHz cordless phone? The Zune? And as for software and services, what of Microsoft Streets & Trips? Microsoft Live Spaces? Microsoft Office Accounting? Microsoft Money? Microsoft Media Center and companion extender for the XBox? Don't think for a second that if a big-wig in Redmond thinks OneDrive isn't doing what it should be for the company they won't discontinue it, too.


dr_andus

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Re: Comparison of FREE Cloud Storage services.
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2015, 02:47:56 PM »
It also strikes me that if GoogleDrive alters files and file formats, then that too is a deal-breaker and one should look elsewhere.

But to what extent is that really (or still) the case? I'm not saying this couldn't have happened in the past (I've heard about such things a couple of years ago), but there is also a chance that new users may not realise how the Drive works with Office files: Save Office files to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

Quote
If you want to share a Microsoft® Office file online and work on the file in real-time with others, you have to first save the file to Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. You can then easily share the file and work on it with others.

Saving to Google Docs, Sheets or Slides creates a new copy so your original is always available in Google Drive. Any edits you make will only affect the new copy, which is stored as a Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides file.

This approach has the potential to confuse people, but it's not changing the original files. But if integrity of MS Office files is paramount, it's probably better to use a more neutral service like Dropbox.

CWuestefeld

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Re: Comparison of FREE Cloud Storage services.
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2015, 02:07:12 PM »
As an amateur photographer with 100s of GBs of photo files, I was excited to see Amazon's announcement of free unlimited photo storage.

This seems like the perfect thing for me, but after researching further it seems like it's all but useless. They only support up- and down-loading photos *explicitly*, and the tool for bulk uploads is reported not to work very well either. To make it perfectly clear: their app doesn't do any updating at all. You can only upload single files or whole directories.