The Cloud Gets More Awesome with New Offers

If you want to be able to access your files from any device and easily share them with others, plenty of action is coming on that front. In the last few days, Dropbox and Box both announced they're enhancing their cloud offerings and Microsoft and Apple are fanning the flames of user desire by giving sneak peeks at upcoming functions in their online storage services.

By Christina DesMarais
Sun, February 26, 2012
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The free 50GB deal Box is offering Android users is valid until March 23.

If you want 50GB through Dropbox it'll run $9.99 a month per user.

For the same price you can get 60GB of cloud storage with SugarSync, which is similar to Dropbox in that it automatically syncs your files to the cloud and across devices. I've used SugarSync and especially loved how easy it is to transfer all my files stored on the cloud to a new desktop or laptop, or to access an important file when away from the office.

But wait -- your cloud options will only get better.

Meet the Cloud

While Google offers several Dropbox-like functions, such as the way you can upload, store and share documents through Google Docs, launch of Google's long-rumored GDrive is supposedly close at hand. It would let you upload and store files to its servers and be able to access them from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Technically you can already do that with Google docs, so how GDrive will be an improvement is unclear.

Google could converge its cloud storage services for photos, videos and files into one place. Or maybe it will copy Dropbox and put a folder on your desktop so that everything in it is automatically synced to the cloud and made available for other Google apps.

Microsoft, for its part, is expected to release the Windows 8 Consumer Preview at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona next week. This should be interesting considering that on February 20 the company announced that Windows 8 will merge its free online storage service SkyDrive and syncing software Mesh to provide a service that looks like it will rival or beat iCloud.

And analysts recently said Apple's move to update Mac OS X for consumers this summer demonstrates the importance it places on its iCloud service. The company recently announced it is seeding developers with a preview of Mac OS X 10.8, dubbed "Mountain Lion."

Michael Gartenberg, a research director with Gartner, says Apple is making Mac OS X and iOS feel the same and that iCloud plays a central role in Mountain Lion. For example, when the OS launches, it asks for the user's iCloud credentials, and offers to create an account if the user has none.

"The net is that the personal cloud is becoming more important than the personal computer," Gartenberg says. "The whole idea of a personal cloud is what's most important to consumers. The rest is just a bunch of connected screens."

Want to learn more about how you can make the most of the cloud? Check out Tony Bradley's "30 Days With the Cloud" series.

Follow Christina on Twitter and Google+ for even more tech news and commentary and follow Today@PCWorld on Twitter, too.

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
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