Amazon tries to catch up in personal cloud storage and falls further behind

Amazon tries to catch up in personal cloud storage and falls further behind

Summary: With the release of Google Drive, all the other personal cloud storage companies had to play catch-up. One, Amazon, has tripped.

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TOPICS: Amazon, Cloud, Google, Storage
17

Ignore the Web page, the Amazon Cloud Drive App. will run on XP.

Ignore the Web page, the Amazon Cloud Drive App. will run on XP.

Google Drive isn't the holy grail of personal cloud services. But, Google Drive's introduction has forced all the other players to up their game. Microsoft added paid storage options to SkyDrive. Dropbox doubled the free storage you got for bringing friends and families on board. And, Amazon introduced a desktop client for its Amazon Cloud Drive. Unfortunately, it's just not that good.

First, if you don't know the Amazon Cloud Drive, like the other personal cloud storage services, it offers you 5GBs of free storage for starters. You can also store any MP3 music files you buy from Amazon in it without those counting towards your limit.

You can also buy more Amazon Cloud Drive storage at the rate of a dollar a GB per year. All the paid plans also offer unlimited music storage. Before you upload every MP3 in your collection to the Amazon Cloud you'll want to take a close look at the service's terms of service. They're disquieting.

First look at Amazon Cloud Drive app (Gallery)

But, until today, to use any of that on a desktop you had to go through a browser. One of the best features of the new big three of cloud storage, Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive is that they have desktop clients that make moving files around on Windows and Macs as easy as moving files around on your hard drive. So, when Amazon released its desktop client that's what I expected to get. I was disappointed.

First, the Amazon Cloud Drive Desktop App only runs on Snow Leopard and Lion on Macs and it claims that it will only run on Windows 7 and Vista. What? No XP? Only the single most popular operating system on the planet? I can grump about lack of Linux support as well, but no XP? Well, despite what the app's splash-page says, it does run on XP. I checked it myself on my XP SP3 test box.

Once you have though, you'll find that it's disappointing. First, you can't open the Amazon Cloud Drive for downloading as it were just another local drive or, for that matter, the modern generation of cloud drives. No, when you “open” the drive, your default Web browser opens up to let you access the cloud copies of your files. That's annoying.

Next, to upload files you must either pick them, and then select an option to upload them to the Amazon Cloud Drive. That's two steps instead of the one that other cloud storage companies require. Or, you can drag and drop them on the teeny-tiny Amazon cloud icon on your taskbar. Yeah, that's going to happen.

If this were 2010, I'd say this was a nice little program. But, it's not. It's 2012. Things have advanced. This is, at best, a half-step to delivering easy-to-use cloud storage services. If Amazon wants to be a player in personal cloud storage, they'll need to do better. Oh, and could you please fix that splash-page, or millions of happy Amazon customers will never even try the version of the application that you're offering today.

Related Stories:

Hands on with Google Drive (Review)

Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive: which one is right for you?

A deep dive into Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive

The G Drive TOS critics need to shut up

Your data, your rights: how fair are online storage services?

Topics: Amazon, Cloud, Google, Storage

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17 comments
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  • I would not suggest Google Drive to my worst enemy

    The one playing catch up is Google, not Amazon. In fact Amazon is being in the "cloud" business for years before Google even considered entering the market.

    On top of that, with Google Drive's TOS anybody would be a complete m0r0n to sign up to a service that guarantees that the data stored will be cannibalized and used for whatever purpose Google decides without the user having any legal right to object.
    wackoae
    • Google is playing catch up

      Without a bias towards Google and only using facts, it's apparent that Google is still playing catch-up and is nowhere near MS's offerings.
      tonymcs1
  • Have your own Cloud!

    Get a Synology or QNAP NAS plus a UPS and DIY. The Terms of Use/Service are your own. You control who uses your data.
    PC-DOS-1984
    • Or

      Or you can install ThinServer XP on your PC and instantly turning it into a cloud server !
      bojanwojan
    • Or

      You could just use MS Small Business Server, but only if you prefer professional software that doesn't require endless fixes ;-)
      tonymcs1
  • I Agree

    I like the way google drive will play just about any type of file without downloading it back to your computer. I still like skydrive better and I have two accounts with the 25 Gigs of free storage each. I will hold on to that as long as I can. If you look at google you get to store up to 20,000. songs, all the pictures you can upload, mail and now the 5 Gigs on google drive. That is a lot of space! I just do not like google and it is that I have been on hotmail so long I just hang in there with the good and the bad. To each his own.
    imsimsj
  • I did not know that

    [i]With the release of Google Drive, all the other personal cloud storage companies had to play catch-up[/i]

    From what most everyone have pointed out, it is Google playing catchup to the other cloud storage vendors. The moment they discovered what Microsoft was adding to SkyDrive, they quickly retimed their anouncement to coincide for the same day.

    Why do humans feel the need to twist the truth because they do not like the actual facts presented?
    Tim Cook
    • exactly!

      I don't know where this author gets off!

      Google drive was ANNOUNCED after MS announced their paid skydrive option.

      SJVN seriously???
      nessrapp
    • Absolutely

      Apart from the paid version...skydrive has been offering cloud storage for more than 4 years now. I have been using it actively for a while now.

      I have started treating SVJN's columns like tabloids now. Its eye-catching, fun to read gossip but not based on facts.
      DontBeEvil
  • Steve you should try Wuala--pretty nice

    Java app runs on Windows, OSX, Linux, 5Gigs free and gpg encryption.
    DTS Your Linux Advocate
    • Java app

      That kills it right there.

      Also from LaCie, more total crap, awful products.
      txscott
  • Steven, biased?

    Never!, well maybe? OK he's incredibly biased. Nothing neutral here.
    Cynical99
  • Beware the Cloud

    "The Cloud" is all the rage these days, but do you really need to store all your stuff in the cloud? Maybe if you have 3 or 4 devices, and you want to access all those files from each one... but how many people have/do that?
    Besides, none of the Cloud providers have the best track record for up time, especially Google. Internet down, no cloud. Cloud provider down, no cloud. Local ISP up, but backbone provider has a problem, no Cloud. And all your files are in the Cloud. Boo hoo. Not to mention, your files are now on someone else's server. What are they doing with those files? What if you want them back? What if they go out of business - ooops. Beware the Cloud.
    jpr75_z
    • Synology DSM 4.x

      Might as well just buy a Synology NAS running DSM4.x and get your own cloud for free.
      neil.postlethwaite
  • People like SJVN...

    Mary Jo-Foley, Ed-Bott and a few others give this site a good reputation,
    but people like SJVN just tarnish it. Will Zdnet just sit by idly?

    For the first time, SJVN's article title wasn't something to do with Microsoft so i thought I will see what he had to say, but then twisting the truth everyone already knows?
    nessrapp
  • copy.com | new boys in town

    I have evaluated all the services and among others dropboxhas an edge, but until www.copy.com service came in to play. they are new but look at what they offer, 15 GB to start off with for free and you can even earn 5GB per referal. here is a link if you want to give it a try.

    https://copy.com?r=IroDcA

    this will give me 5 Gb extra, no offences but it will award you the same too.
    adroit17
  • Copy.com

    copy.com | new boys in town

    I have evaluated all the services and among others dropboxhas an edge, but until www.copy.com service came in to play. they are new but look at what they offer, 15 GB to start off with for free and you can even earn 5GB per referal. here is a link if you want to give it a try.

    https://copy.com?r=IroDcA

    this will give me 5 Gb extra, no offences but it will award you the same too.
    adroit17