Now, and after reviewing the four most popular cloud storage services, let’s see how they compare to each other in terms of all the elements that matter to us as end users:
Ease of use
This is where Dropbox is unrivaled, featuring the start-up checklist which is a simple step -by-step explanation of all the service’s features. In the same context, Google Drive offers a fairly smart intuitive interface but it’s a bit more cumbersome than Dropbox. Evernote takes a bit more work to learn but once competent, you can fly through the program and Amazon Cloud is the least intuitive. OneDrive falls somewhere in the middle between Dropbox and Google Drive. As an aside, the ebook “Evernote Essentials” provides a comprehensive explanation of all features of Evernote, and I’d recommend it to get the most out of the program if you do choose to use Evernote.
Free storage space
Google Drive and OneDrive provide 15 GB shared between Drive, Gmail, and Photos. Amazon Cloud and Pi data centers is a bit less, offering 5 GB, in addition to the Cloud Player for media. This is far greater than the 2 GB offered by Dropbox, and the rather tiny monthly 60 MB allotment of Evernote.
Paid storage plans
Obviously, Amazon crushes the competition here; offering good plans beginning from $ 10 yearly. Google comes next; with monthly plans beginning from $ 2.49. Then comes Evernote and OneDrive; offering $ 5 monthly (or $ 45 yearly) plans. And Dropbox comes at last, with monthly plans beginning from $ 9.99 (or $ 99 yearly). But remember, this shouldn’t be the sole criterion that determines which service to choose; services’ features are the most important, and anyway, you might not even need more than the provided free space, as I’ve never gone over the monthly storage even on Evernote.
Ease of sharing
Dropbox provides quite a bit easier file sharing than Google Drive and Evernote, which take more keystrokes and clicks to share files. Also, Dropbox includes a variety of options for sharing, providing either read-only access or full read-and-write access, offered by Google Drive as well, which obviously enhances collaboration. Amazon Cloud offers sharing only via providing a link to the shared item which makes it the least useful for sharing and collaboration. Google Drive makes sharing documents easy especially if you have a Google account, but also adds the ability to share via Facebook and Twitter, although its arguable whether you’d need that feature. OneDrive is fairly easy, but nowhere near the ease of Google Drive sharing.
In addition to sharing media files, this is where Amazon Cloud Drive outperforms, by offering special apps that allow you to back-up your iPhone photo galleries, and your shared albums become accessible from any iOS device. On the other hand, we find that Dropbox still needs to enhance photo sharing options. Also, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Evernote are a bit more complex in terms of photo sharing but come in ahead of Dropbox. Remember too that if you sync your camera roll with OneDrive, you’ll get an additional 3 GB of storage for free.
Preview office documents
Both Google Drive and Evernote provide the ability to preview office documents, with the edge going to Google Drive, as when you open a file, it opens in Google Drive’s own version of the relevant Office program. This allows you can manage files online without having to open up the office program, save the file, then re-upload it to the cloud, as you have to do with Evernote, where your files are stored as actual Office files. In this respect, Dropbox and Amazon Cloud Drive are completely out of competition as they don’t provide options for previewing office documents. OneDrive does provide previewing of documents, but they load slowly and it does not work as well as Google Drive.
In addition to emailing you to seek verification prior to sharing or changing any of your data, Dropbox and OneDrive also provide even more security through the optional two-factor authentication, which helps largely eliminate many serious security gaps. A similar feature is provided by Google Drive (but you need to sign up for it (don’t worry, its free)), and Evernote Premium has the additional PIN code lock. Clearly this is a point where Amazon Cloud largely falls short as they have no two factor verification which is becoming the standard base for security online.
The “X” Factor
There is one unique feature that is only available on Evernote Premium as I discussed above: the ability to search within PDF’s, documents, and photos. I wouldn’t base my choice on cloud storage programs only on this factor, but that feature is incredible in its own right and should be considered when choosing a cloud storage program.
So, what’s the bottom line? Which one should I use? Obviously this depends on the file types intended for cloud storage, and what you need these files for. If you’re just looking to store family photos, Amazon Cloud is the obvious choice, but if you need anything more than that you should look at the other 4 titans of cloud storage. As I’ve recommended extensively on Four Hour Physician , utilizing any sort of cloud storage program is going to simplify your life tremendously, as no longer will you need to shuffle through piles of papers to find what you need. In the end, I would recommend trying out all four programs and see what works best for you and makes the most sense for you. Give them all a try, and you’ll be able to free your time and liberate your life!