Just last week, Google Drive finally shipped and we’re now able to give it a spin to see if it lives up to the expectation of being a Dropbox competitor. Personally, I’ve not given it a hard look yet because, well, Dropbox works! I have a paid Dropbox account and it’s perfect for me. Maybe after a few months of being played with, I’ll feel like Drive is worth jumping into.
If you’re new to cloud storage, I won’t blame you for going Google. Both services are great in that they offer a nice chunk of free storage that anyone should be able to put to use. With the cloud’s rising popularity and on-the-go computing as popular as ever in 2012, it’s time for you to get on the ball. But what exactly should you be using Dropbox, Google Drive, or another alternative for? Let me help you figure that.
Though with awesome software like Spotify out in the open, some of us still take the primitive route of (legally) downloading music. There’s plenty of reasons why having a hard copy of an MP3 is better than having one exist in a streaming environment like Spotify.
Keeping your favorite music stored in the cloud not only offers a painless way to synchronize some of your favorite stuff across devices, but it also is giving you peace of mind. When you love something, you want to keep it and have as many copies of it as possible. If you pay for music on Amazon, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be enjoying that MP3 on your desktop and laptop together.
Most of our music collections are too extensive to store entirely within the cloud (or at least on a free Dropbox or Drive account). I use my Dropbox account to store only some my favorite songs.
This is the biggest one for me. “Mountable” cloud storage like Dropbox, Drive, or SkyDrive really behaves no differently than a flash drive. Flash drives are really great for packing with useful applications. A Dropbox folder is the same.
I’ve literally got hundreds of portable applications stuffed in there. Even if an application isn’t portable, you can use something like Cameyo to virtualize it and put it in it’s own little sandbox. Almost everything of yours can be portable, you can buy a brand new desktop and probably only have to install Dropbox and a few other small things. You can put in your browser, email, photo and video editing software, everything.
Though I am a huge online hoarder, some things aren’t worth letting go. It doesn’t matter if it’s for the sake of a memory or nostalgia, or if it’s something more technical, screenshots don’t belong to an uploading service like MediaFire or on a flash drive. Set your saves to within your Dropbox and enjoy the time machine.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy tool to take some screenshots, give ScreenSnapr a look.
Are you big on design? You’re cheating yourself if you’re spending hours relocating your favorite fonts every time you switch to a new machine.
Fonts don’t take up a lot of disk space so you can throw a whole lot of these into a Dropbox or Drive folder. From there, you can install the fonts locally with a simple click. Some fonts are hard to come across. Don’t trust your external to keep them around forever.
Now this is one of my favorites. I recently did an article teaching everyone how they can enjoy their SNES games on their home computer using ZSNES. When it comes to snatching up all of those ROMs you want to play, it can consume a lot of your time. Store them in your Dropbox and you only have to take that time once.
Isn’t it comforting to know that your favorite childhood games can be pushed to your hard drive instantly and easily with the simple synchronization of cloud storage?
Make the most of your cloud. It’s been made easily available to you. If you’re not using it, you definitely should be. The icing on the cake is the fact that, if you’re reading this right now, you’re late to the party. Being late is a good thing in this situation, because it means that a lot of your favorite music, programs, fonts, and ROMs have already been uploaded to services like Dropbox. Using technology that allows them to “cache” files, you won’t even need to waste the bandwidth uploading them to Dropbox now. They’ll sync instantly.
There are plenty of other reasons you’ve got to jump on and start storing your goodies. Look into Dropbox’s Pack-Rat. Let me know what you think of these ideas in the comments section!