Here a cloud, there a cloud, everywhere a cloud!
I guess my first experience of The Cloud (as we currently accept it) was with Dropbox and Evernote. Dropbox worked well for my files and Evernote for memos and the smaller documents. Pictures went up to Flickr, videos to YouTube. For chat, then text messaging when on the move or Skype when at my desk. Everything had its place.
However as time went by I found myself using Google’s services more and more. Having everything integrated together seemed to make sense. Google’s docs and spread sheet offerings were more than powerful enough for my needs. Integrated e-mail and the general ‘stuff’ that Google provided all worked well for me. As a back-up for large files and similar I got a separate 100 gig cloud storage space from GoDaddy at a suitably cheap price.
However this GoDaddy storage is quite slow to use, but then it’s only there as a back-up so this is not a big problem. What did get me annoyed was the way Google was going. Mucking up YouTube, closing down services (such as Google Reader) at quite short notice, forcing Google+ onto everyone… so I thought I’d kick back into life some old Yahoo accounts I had. One problem with Yahoo is that it’s very disjointed, there’s no consistency across its services. This didn’t worry me too much, but just as I was shifting stuff across to Yahoo they started locking me out! Not sure what was going on, but I’d go through the password reset routine and that would get me back in – for a while, then I’d be locked out again. This was across different accounts and different machines and totally destroyed my confidence in their abilities. So I started looking back to Dropbox and Evernote.
On the Evernote side I found myself wanting just that bit more than Evernote was providing, especially in the way Evernote organises and catalogues things – I just was not settling down to its user-interface. On the Dropbox side I suddenly realised how many other alternative similar services I now had access to. In addition to Dropbox (and my GoDaddy storage) I have Google Drive(s) (across various Gmail accounts), OneDrive(s) (also across a mix of old Hotmail and new Live accounts), iCloud, Box, Amazon, and Adobe, all giving me various quantities of storage space. One problem is that each time you start using a new internet connected service they give you some free space, but linked through to their preferred service supplier. So an Android phone will default to Google’s Drive, anything Apple to iCloud, Windows phones to OneDrive, BlackBerry gives you Box, Kindle devices to Amazon cloud drive…and so on. Each one of these providing a ‘great service’ but there’s just too many of them now splattered across my desktop!
At the same time as this was happening I’d also got hold of a Nokia 520 Windows phone to play with and was unexpectedly impressed with it. So if I wasn’t happy with both Google and Yahoo and getting a bit drowned in all the other space-providing organisations, what about Microsoft and their services? Microsoft seems to have been going through a bit of a reinvention at to what it actually is and does, and where a few years ago I wouldn’t have touched it with the proverbial barge pole, now with its cross-platform and cross-operating system services I find it rather tempting. They’ve ‘discovered’ (be it rather late in the game) the importance of not just providing services for Windows, but if they want to keep their users then they must support those other (rival) platforms that their users also access. I’ve been pleasantly impressed with this thing of having Office on my computers but my data backed up in the cloud, so when on the move (and with cloud syncing) having access to everything through a web browser. So at the moment I’ve seem to have settled down to Microsoft’s services for notes, documents and spreadsheet type stuff, and Dropbox for program and large file storage.
No doubt it won’t be long before something else ‘new and exciting’ comes along and I’ll change again, but that’s for the future, not right now.