Amazon, which made available one of the first enterprise cloud storage services nearly seven years ago but was late providing one for consumers, on May 3 updated its year-old, consumer-oriented Cloud Drive storage service with a new, freely available desktop application for both Mac OS and Windows.
Now, instead of having to go to the Cloud Drive Website each time, users simply click on a desktop icon to access all their stored files in the Amazon cloudone of the largest and most-utilized storage bins in the world. The new client works with Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS 10.6 and above.
Since the Cloud Drive launch in 2011, Amazon has given subscribers the standard free 5GB of storage for most commonly used file formats, such as videos, photos, documents, and music in MP3 or ACC (Apple iTunes) that can be accessed with a browser. That 5GB is still the freebie policy.
However, as also is standard with most similar services, users can pay more to increase their storage capacity. For Amazon Cloud Drive, the premium services begin at 20GB for $20/year and go up. By the way, any music bought from Amazon doesn't count toward a user's storage limit.
Unlike more advanced cloud storage subscription packages, Cloud Drive doesn't offer automatic synchronization with folders on a local laptop or other PC or file sharing with other Cloud Drive users. Those are features that can come in quite handy at times, as many users are finding out.
For example, Google Drivelaunched earlier this weekDropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive, Box and SugarSync are all popular services that offer a list of other applications. It remains to be seen whether Amazon will eventually add collaboration, workflow, file-sharing or other apps to Cloud Drive.
For your reference, here is a listing of 15 popular cloud storage services.