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January 9, 2014

Best free cloud storage

CBR takes you through five of the best providers.

By Joe Curtis

As the saying goes, size doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with it that counts. And it’s as applicable to cloud storage providers as male appendages.

While there are plenty of companies offering vast amounts of online space for free, it’s important to remember that there’s plenty of other factors like security, app integration and how accessible your files are that need consideration before getting into bed with a provider.

Here’s five that will leave you feeling satisfied.

Google Drive

Free storage 15GB

Available on OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android

While still relatively new, Google is becoming one of, if not the best free storage provider in the market. Last year saw it add 10GB to its free storage – sharable over Drive, Gmail and Google+ Photos. That’s a whopping amount that will appeal to those with a lot more virtual luggage, but it’s also top of CBR’s list because of the other services it includes.

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It combines the tools previously known as Google Docs, as well as all the files built with those tools, and offers the ability to create within Drive – an especially convenient feature when on the move.

Its compatibility with iOS, Android, Windows and OS X means it’s as useful on your desktop as on your smartphone, another pretty irresistible feature, we think.

SkyDrive

Free storage 7GB/10GB for students

Available on Windows/OS X/Linux/iOS/Android/Windows Phone/Blackberry (£1.50)

Microsoft’s signature cloud storage is generous in its free storage and is incredibly simple to use – that user-friendly nature cannot be overrated. SkyDrive boasts frequent backups and file compression. A neat little addition here is the inclusion of public and shared folders, which determine who can see your files; either everyone or only those you elect to share them with.

Dropbox

Free storage 2GB

Available on Windows/OS X/iOS/Blackberry/Android

Dropbox is probably the most famous example of a free storage provider, and is credited with popularising the technology. It’s still a very good choice for the not-too-serious user, offering convenience and a decent amount of free storage. Dropbox also offers more MB and GB for users who get friends to download the application too, with 24/7 support for anyone experiencing technical difficulties.

Amazon Cloud Drive

Free storage 5GB

Available on Windows/OS X/Linux/iOS/Android

Utilising Amazon Web Services’ vast cloud space, the online retailer’s storage offering is about as secure as it gets. You can store photos, documents, videos and most other digital files on Amazon Cloud Drive, but its biggest selling point is that it has a free Cloud Player service that lets you store and listen to up to 250 songs on the move. One for music fans.

Apple iCloud

Free storage 5GB

Available on Windows/OS X/iOS

iCloud’s biggest disadvantage is its availability only on Apple devices. While it is compatible with Windows, its only app is for iPhone and iPad users. Apple’s service, then, is one for hardcore aficionados of the brand – though there’s not much of a shortage of them. It doesn’t sync emails or backup computer files, but it’s so simple to store music, videos, books and photos on. Once you’re up and running it automatically adds snaps taken on your devices to its Photo Stream album.

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