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Cloud Storage for Video: An Overview

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There are a lot of free cloud storage services to choose from for sharing and storing video on the web. This overview will give you a comparison of the major services, the features they offer, and how they handle video in the cloud.

Dropbox

Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage services on the web, which is surprising since it's not affiliated with any specific operating system or computing environment. It's got a clean and simple operating system, and is one of the original cloud storage providers. You can sign up for a Dropbox account and you'll received 2GB of free storage, plus 500 MB for every friend you invite to the service. Dropbox has a web app, a PC app, and mobile apps for Android and iOS. It features streaming video playback in each of these apps so you can instantly watch your videos in the cloud without waiting for a download.

Google Drive

Google's cloud storage offers exciting video integration options. You can add cloud video editing apps like Pixorial, WeVideo and Magisto to your Google Drive account and edit your videos entirely in the cloud! In addition, Google offers a streaming media service similar to iTunes that let's you rent and purchase movies and TV shows and store them in the cloud. Google Drive has a web app, PC app, and mobile apps for Android and iOS. It provides in-browser playback for video files, and supports video uploads of most file types. Users get 5GB of storage for free.

Box

Box gives you more free storage than Dropbox - free users get 5GB upon signing up - but it doesn't have as much support for video as the other cloud services listed here. In addition to its free account for personal use, Box offers a Business account and an Enterprise account for collaboration and file-sharing among coworkers. The only version of Box that includes online video playback is the Enterprise account which requires 10 or more users. Box has a web app, mobile apps for most mobile devices, and a PC app that integrates with your file directory.

Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon Cloud Drive features lets you store your videos, photos, music, and documents in the cloud. Every user gets 5GB for free, and increased storage options are available on a sliding scale. Cloud Drive accommodates most file types, and also includes in-browser playback for video files. In addition to the web interface, Cloud Drive has a PC app, but doesn't yet have iPhone and Android apps.

Microsoft SkyDrive

This cloud storage service is best suited for people who prefer a Microsoft computing environment. It's the only service listed here that accommodates Windows phones, and also features integration with the Microsoft Office Suite and Windows tablets. That being said, the service can be used on a Mac or Linus machine - you just need to create a Windows ID. It features a PC app, web app, and mobile apps for Windows, Android and iOS. Free users get 7GB of storage, and SkyDrive includes in-browser playback for video files.

Apple iCloud

iCloud is specifically for iOS users, and comes pre-integrated into most Apple devices. It's very easy to enable, and you can sync it with iPhoto and iTunes. You can send videos from your camera roll to the cloud using iPhoto, but iCloud isn't integrated with Quicktime. The most popular use of iCloud is for storing media that Apple users purchase from iTunes - anything you buy can be stored in the cloud so you can watch your movie collection from an Apple TV, PC, or iPad wherever there's internet.

Cloud storage is still trying to figure out how to handle the large file sizes that it takes to make, share and edit videos. How quickly you can upload, download, and play videos from these accounts depends on your internet connection. You can expect these services to continue to expand their video features as time goes on, but for now, they're a great way to share video clips and collaborative documents with your family, friends, and creative partners.

All prices as of March 2013.

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