Cloud Storage Price Wars: Best Free and Paid Options - Technologist
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Cloud Storage Price Wars: Best Free and Paid Options

Remember when everyone offered free email? At a certain point, it didn't matter which one you picked because they were all free. The only differentiator was feature set, and for a while, all the freebies (Hotmail, Yahoo) looked exactly the same ... until Gmail shook things up and everyone else played catch-up.

To a certain extent, we have the same thing happening with cloud storage: it's space, on the Internet, to store your files. DropBox was revolutionary, but now there are fifty-seven* companies offering the exact same service. How bad is the market saturation? Here's a breakdown of your choices for free and paid service, respectively.

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Free Options, By Size

  • Microsoft OneDrive - 15 GB
  • Google Drive - 15 GB
  • Box - 10 GB
  • Apple iCloud** - 5 GB
  • DropBox - 2 GB

Paid Options, 1 Terabyte

  • Microsoft OneDrive (Comes with Office 365) - $9.99/month
  • Google Drive (Integrates with Google Apps, Docs, etc.) - $9.99/month
  • DropBox - $9.99/month

Our other contenders have different premium plans that cost more for less space. For example, Box is $10/month for 100 GB. iCloud is $20/year for 10 GB, $40/year for 20 GB, $100/year for 50 GB.

It's All About the Features

When it comes to the Big Three providers (the ones with $9.99/month for 1 TB), your differentiating factor is feature set.

OneDrive comes with Microsoft Office 365, the full office suite that you know, love, and probably use on a daily basis in your legal work. If you already have an older copy of Microsoft Office, or the non-subscription version -- Office 2013 -- this may be less appealing, though the seamless integration with Office and Windows 8 makes OneDrive extremely appealing for business and legal users.

However, if you are a Google addict, Google Drive, for the same price, integrates seamlessly with every Google service imaginable: Gmail, Google's online office suite, Google Photos, and more.

DropBox, as a standalone company, doesn't have the nifty integration features, but it did bump up the feature set on its premium offering, which now includes password protecting files, expiration dates on shared files, and read-only sharing, reports Gizmodo.

*A rough estimate
**iCloud becomes a true "cloud storage drive" with the release of OS X Yosemite this fall. Until then, it backs up selective things: pictures, music, whatever.

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