The news have been full of cloud storage services lately. Every day there seemed to be another provider hopping off the ground offering even more unlimited features than the one before. First, we had unlimited online backup offered by Carbonite, Backblaze and IDrive.
All of those services enter the market with the crazy proposition to offer their users infinite storage for their files. While those services tackle all things related to backup, most of them will delete files after a period of time when they don’t find a copy on your local machine.
That is what differentiates most online backup services with cloud storage offerings.
More Than Backup
But people wanted more than just backup. They want to have all of their files available at all times, and on all of their computers. That’s why cloud storage and file synchronization services have been at their rise in 2007, 2008. We certainly all know Dropbox, which revolutionized the way we think about our files today.
Dropbox made it easy to get all your files synchronized between multiple computers. People who own a laptop, a desktop PC and one at the office can now easily share and sync their files across all of those devices without the need of sending cumbersome email attachments.
File Synchronization is On The Rise
Of course, other businesses adopted this cloud storage model. For example, SugarSync is one of the major competitors of Dropbox. SugarSync has some advantages over Dropbox, such as you can choose which folders you want to synchronize. So you are not limited to one single folder where you have to put all of your files into.
Dropbox and SugarSync work tremendously well. That’s why so many users have adopted those technologies and use it day by day for their file synchronization needs. However, those services do have a significant glitch: they do limit the storage space according to the plan you purchase. The more storage you need, the more expensive the service will get.
This begs the question, why not adapt the successful model of unlimited online backup to file synchronization as well? The answer was until today: it is more expensive and technically more difficult to offer file synchronization in such a manner that it is scalable to large amount of users.
But as technology has shown the past, it will adapt to consumer’s needs sooner or later. And consumers needed unlimited online backup and file synchronization without having to think about running out of space depending on which plan they chose.
One-Size-Fits-All Backup & File Sync?
Now, there are a couple of services that try to fill in the void that Dropbox and SugarSync create: the latest example is Sync.com: because they don’t want you to think about folders, backup or other things. They just provide a centralized hard drive in the cloud that never runs out of space and backs up your files automatically.
Of course, you can connect that hard drive to any computer you are working on and therefore works as a file synchronization service, too. This is one major step into a direction that consumers desperately want.
But are they ready yet to use it to its full potential? Also, Sync.com is not the only provider offering unlimited file synchronization and storage and backup. If you look at a service called Livedrive, you’ll notice that they offer unlimited online backup plus a 2TB file synchronization Drive. While 2TB is not unlimited it is getting very close.
Is ‘Unlimited’ The Way to Go?
The cloud storage market is huge. Dropbox already has hundreds of millions of users but as new services are coming off the ground it begs the question if there is still room for more or it’s finally the end of new cloud storage services?
I think, unlimited storage and synchronization is the way to go. Sooner or later other services will have to adapt to services like Sync.com. That doesn’t mean that Sync.com is the best service out there, but the idea goes into the right direction.
Users don’t want to think about storage anymore. Cloud storage services do tackle the mass market. Their goal is not to get some power users on board. They want as many people as possible so that they can break even after a couple of years. Unlimited storage is expensive. There are going to be people who will really seize this opportunity to the max storing hundred of gigabyte if not terabyte.
However, the majority of users only like the idea that there is no limitation but will never actually use it – it’s the flat rate model at its best.
So, is this the end of cloud storage services? Yes and no. Of course, new services will need more money because they are already pretty late into the game. Also, new cloud storage services will have to prove that they have a merit to exist. It will be hard or even impossible for a new company to get into that market without offering unlimited space.
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Cloud storage is a multibillion dollar business. Certainly, growth has not come to a halt. Now it is about who will win the race, identifying users’ needs and adapting their services accordingly. Also, their success will be determined by how well they integrate into the daily lives of people. That includes a well thought through mobile strategy and third-party integration, for example, password management, photo apps, and other services that people already like to use.
What’s your take on cloud storage? Please share your thoughts how you think this cloud storage game is going to turn around.