Google’s main drawback is this: If you don’t have an Internet connection, you’re out of luck. You can’t create anything while you’re not connected to the network. Google Drive is best for people who have and like their existing Google accounts, as the Web and mobile apps retain much of the same aesthetic as other Google products. If you need to work offline, however, you may want to give it a pass. Google will give you 5GB for free with the option to upgrade. You can get 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or 1TB for $49.99/month, if you feel you need more room.
The leading service for file storage, Dropbox recently spruced up its service and added one great feature for sharing: public links. Anyone can share a Dropbox file with a public link, and the site will display photo galleries or other files in the browser.
The mobile apps are also great for those who like to have their content on the go. While you can’t access documents if you’re not online, Dropbox offers integration with Evernote and Kindle — meaning that you can store stuff there if you know you’ll need it offline later.
The downside of Dropbox? No file creation. This is a pure cloud locker, and whatever you store — a document, a photo, etc. — has to be downloaded to be edited. Dropbox is ideal for people who have a lot of documents to share, but not perfect for collaborators. Users can have up to 2GB of storage for free, 50 GB for $9.99 per month or 100 GB for $19.99 per month. Businesses can also get a terabyte of data, using the company’s enterprise plan, which starts at $795 per year.
Apple’s offering for the Cloud is meant for one kind of person: the Apple user. The company’s iCloud browser service syncs a user’s calendar, contacts and mail, as well as any documents made on any of its iWork apps across all their Apple devices.
In some ways, Apple’s approach to content creation in the cloud is the anti-Google — you can do all your work offline, but can’t edit anything online. The apps for iWork will also set you back $9.99 each, which could be a turnoff for many people. The service is also best for solo work, since offline work means no sharing and no real-time collaboration.