Cloud storage has become ubiquitous among smartphone and desktop users, thanks to free storage with most free accounts.
Google and Microsoft both offer users free cloud storage through Google Drive and OneDrive respectively, while DropBox remains an independent but popular service.
OneDrive, Google Drive, and DropBox all offer users a limited amount of free cloud storage, with subscription users able to use expanded storage in addition to other features.
It is important to note that while cloud storage can be used as a backup for files, it is mainly a file synchronisation tool – meaning that changes made to a file on one device can be synced across all others.
We compared the main features and storage options offered by Google Drive, OneDrive, and DropBox, below.
Google offers users 15GB of free storage, which includes the storage used by their Gmail.
A major feature of Google Drive is its built-in office suite – courtesy of Google Docs – which allows users to edit and view files in the app or browser.
This makes Google Drive perfect for Chromebook users, who may not be able to install an office software solution.
Google promises it will not search or access your Drive files without notification of suspicion or a court order.
Users can upgrade to 100GB of cloud storage for R290 per year, or 1TB for R1,599 per year.
Microsoft’s cloud storage solution offers users 5GB of free storage, which is a useful option for Windows users.
The platform is integrated with Office, making it best for Windows users with multiple devices.
When opening Office while logged into their Microsoft account, Windows users can access recent documents automatically synced to OneDrive.
Unlike the other cloud storage options, Microsoft retains the right to actively search and access user files.
OneDrive offers 50GB of storage for R19 per month, 1TB for R899 per year, or 5TB + Office 365 Home for R1,149 per year.
DropBox users are given 2GB of free storage space, and are required to create a user account or sign in with Google.
An advantage of DropBox is its compatibility with a variety of platforms, including Android, iOS, and Linux.
DropBox users can upload and access files using either a browser or a standalone application.
DropBox will only access your files when notified of suspicion or due to a court order.
Users can upgrade their storage to 1TB for $112 (R1,400) per year, and can earn free storage by completing various tasks – such as turning on automatic photo sync.