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Five Cloud Storage Services

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Do you need access to your files when you're not at your desk? Or perhaps you want to share your files with colleagues, keeping the contents synched as you or they make updates? As everyday business activities spread outside the traditional office, we need flexible ways to access our data, share it, and collaborate. Eric Geier examines five of the most popular services for storing and sharing files online.
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Online or cloud storage can come in handy if you need access to your files from multiple locations or you back up your files to an offsite location. There are endless cloud services now, most offering some amount of free storage. In this article, I'll review five of those services, discussing how much free storage is offered, the cost to add more space, and the features of each service.

Google Docs

The Google Docs service is intended primarily for storing and accessing documents created using Google's free online office applications, but you can store up to 1GB of any mix of document types (including Microsoft Office files) for free. Uploaded files have a maximum size limit of 250MB. Documents created using the Google Docs formats don't count toward the 1GB limit. Additional storage costs 25 cents per gigabyte per year.

You can upload files or folders to Google Docs via a traditional dialog box, or open their upload page in your web browser to drag-and-drop files. Uploading folders requires the use of Google's Chrome web browser.

When browsing through your storage, you'll see a thumbnail preview of the files. Most files can be opened and viewed in the browser; documents using the Google formats can be opened and edited right in the browser. Documents using Microsoft formats can be previewed, but can be edited only after you copy the file into the comparable Google format.

Google Docs lets you share your documents and files easily. You can share with specific people or publish a web link. Sharing can be enabled quickly by clicking the file's arrow. You can also filter files stored by Google Docs by clicking the sharing status.

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