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storing data in cloudsWith the establishment of the Internet as a giant storage place, metaphorically referred to as The Cloud, local backups, cross-device syncing, and local data storage is becoming more and more redundant. In fact, the average user already stores a bulk of personal data online. Soon, even the data hoarders may find sufficient space in the digital cloud to say goodbye to terabyte-sized hard drives and complicated backup and sync procedures.

Are you ready to step into The Cloud? In this article I will show you how you can become largely independent of local data storage and store your data in the cloud. I will provide an overview of how the Internet can help you sync information across different software, platforms and devices to have your data accessible anytime, anywhere by you or by anyone you choose.

Cloud Messaging: Email

Whether you maintain a webmail account like Yahoo, Hotmail, or GMail or send and receive email via a desktop client, your messages inevitably pass through The Cloud and are stored on Internet servers, at least temporarily. The advantage of a webmail account that permanently stores your mails online, is that you cannot lose important messages and data. Some people even scan important documents and mail them to their own webmail account in order to have permanent access to them. It’s a thought worth tossing around.

Consider Google Mail for a permanent webmail account. Apart from over 7GB of free storage, it offers incredible features that will let you experience email in a whole new light.

MakeUseOf has covered GMail extensively. Here is a small selection:

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Online File Storage: Dropbox

At first sight, Dropbox is a harmless little folder that sits on your desktop and holds your files. What hides behind it however, is a nifty little sync tool that works in the background and never hassles you. Not only are files in your Dropbox automatically encrypted and synced to your online Dropbox account, you also have access to 30 days of undo history, you can share Dropbox subfolders with your friends, access your files online, or sync them to as many devices as you like. 2GB of this cloud storage madness is totally free.

Care to learn more about Dropbox? Check out these articles:

Brain Online: Evernote

Evernote is something like your online pinboard or fridge for useful bits and pieces of information, some even call it their external brain. Whether it’s business cards, recipes, ideas, pictures, or invitations, on Evernote you can store any piece of information you want to remember. Evernote will index text, even from scanned documents or pictures and whenever you need the information, you can easily search and access your data collection wherever you are.

Let us get you started on Evernote:

Passwords Anywhere: LastPass

What is the greatest annoyance when you quickly want to check your email on a friend’s computer or in an Internet café? After years of letting your browser store your password, you actually forget it! The same fate awaits those who reinstall their computer or set up a new device.

LastPass is a long term solution because it encrypts and stores your passwords online. It also offers extensions for all major browsers and mobile devices, allowing you to sync passwords across multiple browsers and operating systems and all your gadgets. In addition, LastPass provides a secure password generator, which creates nearly uncrackable passwords.

Bookmarks Sync: Xmarks

When we talk about The Cloud, we’re automatically talking about browsers and bookmarks. Browsers are our digital window into The Net and being the most important tool for accessing the Internet, many people are almost emotionally attached to their browser. While many browsers now offer syncing of personal data, what they all lack is cross-browser-syncing of bookmarks. What good are your bookmarks if you cannot access them anywhere?

bookmarks sync

Note that Xmarks will no longer sync passwords. The company has acquired LastPass and is thus deprecating the password sync feature in Xmarks.

Cloud Entertainment: Amazon Cloud Drive & Player

Right now, Amazon Cloud Drive is nothing but yet another online storage space. However, with the introduction of its Cloud Player, it provides a glimpse into the future of digital entertainment. Soon, we will store our media files locally, they will all be located in the cloud and accessible through apps on our digital devices. You can text the future now by using the 5GB free space on Amazon Cloud Drive for your music How to Use Your Free 5GB Amazon Cloud Drive Space For Music How to Use Your Free 5GB Amazon Cloud Drive Space For Music The era of cloud-based computing is taking hold, and if you are a computer user who juggles between one or more computers, plus a few mobile devices, then cloud-based storage is nearly essential to accessing... Read More (US only).

Do you now see how laptops in the future will be based on a browser rather than an operating system? If you’re all ears about The Cloud now, you might like these articles:

Needless to say, an article like this can only scratch the surface and show the biggest and best cloud tools to store data in the cloud. There are many, many more and I’m sure you know one or the other. So are you floating freely in The Cloud already or is something holding you back? Please share your opinions in the comments!

Image credits: Lightspring

  1. vjack
    May 14, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Thanks a lot tina.Its very intresting news.Thanks for your sharing....

  2. Angelo Pascutti
    April 30, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Reading an article in ZDNET (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/violetblue/... I noticed some differences between yahoo-delicious and avos-delicious. I do not like porn, but sometimes, as an engineer and a art martial trainer, i bookmark something that there is some content about violence or hard work conditions of some Chinese. This could be considered violence or defamatory or even violates any applicable law. So, I'm going to search for a new bookmarking tool.

  3. Angelo Pascutti
    April 30, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Reading an article in ZDNET (www.zdnet.com/blog/violetblue/why-you-should-think-twice-about-opting-in-to-the-delicious-avos-transfer/331) I noticed some differences between yahoo-delicious and avos-delicious. I do not like porn, but sometimes, as an engineer and a art martial trainer, i bookmark something that there is some content about violence or hard work conditions of some Chinese. This could be considered violence or defamatory or even violates any applicable law. So, I'm going to search for a new bookmarking tool.

  4. Bob
    April 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    It appears that delicious have been taken over by the guys that started youtube so I keep all my bookmarks on delicious - again access from any computer, also worth looking at bmrk.it

  5. Bob
    April 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    It appears that delicious have been taken over by the guys that started youtube so I keep all my bookmarks on delicious - again access from any computer, also worth looking at bmrk.it

  6. hari
    April 29, 2011 at 7:56 am

    for bookmarking http://www.bkmks.com allow us to keep all our most used bookmark in fast & easy to organize & as it is saved as a page, so we can access from any computer, any browse easily, no need to install or setup (we can pin this page in chrome or firefox). It's only need two click to get your link, same as through bookmark menu. The rest we can use diigo, the fastest & full-feature online bookmarking so far.

  7. hari
    April 29, 2011 at 5:56 am

    for bookmarking http://www.bkmks.com allow us to keep all our most used bookmark in fast & easy to organize & as it is saved as a page, so we can access from any computer, any browse easily, no need to install or setup (we can pin this page in chrome or firefox). It's only need two click to get your link, same as through bookmark menu. The rest we can use diigo, the fastest & full-feature online bookmarking so far.

  8. Dan
    April 29, 2011 at 2:55 am

    You got it backwards. Lastpass acquired Xmarks, not the other way around.

    • Tina
      April 29, 2011 at 4:31 am

      Yeah, you're right. Thanks for catching that one!

      • Ryan
        June 18, 2011 at 11:08 pm

        And yet you didn't make the correction after Dan pointed it out.

        • Tina
          June 19, 2011 at 5:22 am

          True. I didn't bug the editor in charge to do it. Unfortunately, I cannot edit articles once they have been published. It's a minor mistake, not worth the hassle.

  9. cadarn07
    April 29, 2011 at 2:13 am

    I think Google Docs is something that should be included in this article. Google Docs allows you to store many types of files and also allows you to create and edit them.

    • Tina
      April 29, 2011 at 4:32 am

      There is an endless amount of cloud tools, but yes, Google Dogs or ZoHo are some of the bigger and more significant ones.

  10. Srivatsan Venkatesh
    April 29, 2011 at 1:43 am

    I used Foxmarks, now Xmarks, on Firefox. Now I use Chrome, and that is the only browser I use, at work and at home. I just use Chrome Sync with my Google Account to get my extensions, bookmarks and apps to my other computer.

  11. Shauna, Secret Secretary
    April 29, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Thanks Tina,

    Great post!

    I use Dropbox, Springpad, Gmail and Google apps as well as Zoho for invoicing etc for constant easy communication between myself and my clients. I love the 'cloud'!

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