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Just a little over a week ago, a lot of news was made in the world of personal cloud storage, where Dropbox added more sharing features, SkyDrive introduced their new synchronization application for desktops, and Google Drive was unveiled. Soon after, plenty of new comparisons were made between the different services as they all had something new to offer.
However, despite the “Big Three” being the most discussed, there may be some worthy services that are being left out.
About Ubuntu One
Ubuntu One is such a service. It was created for users of the Ubuntu Linux operating system so that they could use a cloud storage service that was home grown by the developers of Ubuntu itself and offered tight integration with the operating system. While that may make Ubuntu One sound pretty specialized, it’s not. Ubuntu One is available for Ubuntu, Windows,, and iOS users to enjoy.
Ubuntu users should already have an Ubuntu One icon on their systems (if not, you really need to update to a newer release of the distribution) where they can follow the wizard and install the Ubuntu One software. Windows users can follow this link to get Ubuntu One onto their systems. Android and iOS users can find Ubuntu One-related apps in their respective app stores by simply searching for “Ubuntu One”.
So, what actually makes Ubuntu One great?
Just like Google Drive, Ubuntu One offers 5GB of completely free storage for all of its users. While it’s not as much as what SkyDrive offers (7GB, or 25GB if you’re eligible for the free upgrade back to the previous limit), it’s more than twice as much as Dropbox’s 2GB of free storage. Upgrades to this storage space are relatively cheap, with 20GB of extra storage costing around $2.99/month or $29.99/year.
Ubuntu One offers many of the features that you’re accustomed to from other services. After you log in or create an account, you’ll be asked which folders you’d like to synchronize (if that choice is presented to you). And that’s all you really have to do, as Ubuntu One hides itself and goes to work when something is added to a folder you chose for it to monitor.
You can always re-open Ubuntu One and look at all the available options. Not only can you change which folders should be synchronized, but there are also some other settings such as bandwidth limits and other miscellaneous items.
Of course, no cloud storage and synchronization service is complete without a good web interface. Ubuntu One sports that as well, and it looks quite nice. Personally, I find that the file browser could offer some more functionality aside from absolute basics. Sharing could also be somewhat improved, as currently you can share folders by entering in an email address and modifying a few permissions. The other person will then receive an email with a link to gain access the shared folder with whatever permissions you gave. These are, however, small inconveniences from an otherwise fantastic service.
Did you know that Ubuntu One can do more than just store files? It has special capabilities for backing up contacts so that you’ll have your contacts instantly ready to go on all devices. The same holds true for Tomboy notes, but both notes and contacts synchronizations currently work under Ubuntu only.
Ubuntu One also allows you to stream the music you have stored to your Android or iOS device much like Google Play Music does, although this requires a small $3.99/month or $39.99/year fee. Upgrading to the Music Streaming portion of the service will also bump your storage up to 25GB of total storage, so it’s not a bad deal at all.
Ubuntu One really is a nice cloud storage service that more people should be aware of and look into. Having an array of options in front of you can help you make the best decision possible, and Ubuntu One is definitely one that most people should consider, especially if they are users of the Ubuntu distribution. With current features such as music streaming and relatively cheap storage, it will be very interesting to see how the service stands after a bit more polish. In any case, you can also sign up simply for the 5GB of free storage that may come in handy at one point or just serve as another backup location.
What’s your opinion of Ubuntu One? Which cloud storage service do you currently prefer, including Ubuntu One? Let us know in the comments!