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Top 20 cloud storage services

The great hard drive in the sky

Cloud storage services: Store and share photos

Digital photography has made it possible to document nearly every event, without spending a fortune on film. But this surfeit of photos presents a challenge, too: what’s the best way to share them all?


Flickr: You’ll find a strong community on the Yahoo-owned Flickr, which is home to more than 50 million members. The user-friendly interface is easy for anyone to use, and the basic service is free, albeit with limitations.

You can upload 300MB worth of photos a month, with no photo exceeding 30MB; and you can upload two videos a month, each no longer than 90 seconds and no larger than 150MB. The Pro version has no storage limits and costs from just a pound per month if you pay for two years up front.

Flickr will compress photos only if they exceed the file-size limits; otherwise, it leaves them alone. Where Flickr feels light is in its advanced controls. It lacks a watermarking option, for instance, and you can’t specify who can download your photos.

PhotobucketPhotobucket: Like Flickr, Photobucket is available in free (ad-supported) and paid (no-ad) versions. The free version of Photobucket lets you upload many more images than Flickr: 10GB per month.

However, you’ll also see many more ads here than on Flickr. In addition to a persistent banner ad, most pages have at least one pop-up ad. Photobucket’s Java-based bulk uploader tool conveniently recreates your system’s file structure in your browser and displays only uploadable photos, but its omission of drag-and-drop support is a drag.

SmugMugSmugMug: Providing a mind-boggling array of features, SmugMug is a serious tool for serious photographers.

It’s also the right choice if you like money, since it offers the potential to earn cash if you have an eye like Ansel Adams and want to sell your photos on prints, mouse pads, coasters, T-shirts, or other items. Set your price per item, or an overall profit percentage, and watch as SmugMug helps to fatten your wallet.

SmugMug also assists you in sprucing up your photos with colour effects, watermarks and basic editing tools. You can display your photo stream in many different ways, and exert fine control over who can download your snapshots and which image sizes are available to viewers.

The catch: SmugMug is a subscription-only service, starting at $40 (around £25) per year.

Next page: Cloud services for storing and streaming music

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