When people refer to storing content in the “cloud”, it means keeping things on the internet so you can access them from anywhere, regardless of the device you’re using instead of keeping it on your hard drive.
So, if you realise you need a document you’ve been working on from your home computer but only have your iPad / tablet PC with you, you can access it from the internet without having to worry. Best of all, you can edit your document and re-save it from any of your devices, and it will be updated whenever you use it again on other platforms.
You can store and access all kinds of different content on cloud services too, including text, spreadsheets, photos, videos, ebooks and music.
There are a number of different cloud solutions available and the space will definitely change when Apple’s service iCloud launches later this year.
But for now, here are three of the most popular services and what they can offer you.
Google has a selection of cloud services, but they’re not in a central offering.
Most of these are very useful for small businesses, particularly Google Docs as it allows you to share, edit and collaborate on a number of Office-style documents seamlessly.
Storage you get for free: 1GB for Google Docs, 1GB for Picasa, 7GB for Gmail.
Works with: All devices that have a web browser
Amazon’s CloudDrive service is a simple online storage solution which lets you access files from any device, as long as it has Flash. This means that it’s probably not suitable for those with iPhone and iPad devices.
When you sign up you’re given access to 5GB of storage completely free (enough to store around 1,000 songs), but then you do have to pay a premium to get more from the service.
Storage you get for free: 5GB
Works with: All devices that run Adobe Flash (currently not iPad or iPhone)
Probably the most popular cloud service solution, Dropbox can live on your desktop and smart phone, but lets you keep all kinds of content on the internet. This makes it really easy to “drop” things into Dropbox so you can then access it elsewhere. The service has many great features, you can make changes to documents and then these synchronise straight away, which makes the whole service very seamless and you can also access your files and content across all major platforms too, as well as through the dedicated web browser.
Storage you get for free: 2GB
Works with: All devices with a web browser.
Image via Amazon.