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Review: Using files made easy with online storage

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Review: Using files made easy with online storage
Associated Press
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Published 01:40 p.m., Wednesday, May 2, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Moving digital files between your work and home computers can be a pain. Add smartphones and tablet computers to the mix, and you've got yourself a giant headache. Google Inc. unveiled its solution to the problem last week, while two other companies, Dropbox Inc. and Microsoft Corp., improved their existing offerings. The idea is to leave your files on their computers, so that you can access them from any Internet-connected device, wherever you are. Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft's SkyDrive share many core features. All you need is a Web browser and an Internet connection. To upload a file to the online storage service, you simply move the file's icon to the browser window. A subset of features is also available through apps for mobile devices. The services give you plenty of free space for word processing, spreadsheets and other basics, but not enough for extensive storage of photos and video. Dropbox lets you earn additional free space by recruiting friends or performing such tasks as installing Dropbox's software. [...] you can give some people a view-only link and others a link with editing privileges. Dropbox and SkyDrive can automatically turn the photos you share into galleries, so that friends can view them through an interface that resembles what you'd get on Facebook or a photo-sharing site. SkyDrive searches contents of documents in Microsoft formats — Word, PowerPoint and Excel — but it won't even index the file names for other types, including photos. Dropbox also is the only service to offer phone apps for both Apple and Android devices. Google Drive offers to convert files to Google's online documents format. Google Drive doesn't currently run any ads, and the company says it has no plans to use your documents — such as your private diaries — to target ads elsewhere. [...] Google's recently revised privacy policy allows the company to do so if it ever changes its mind.
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