Verizon Wireless has announced a new cloud-storage service to compete with Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive, but it's not really clear why anyone would use it in place of those services.
Verizon Cloud comes with 500MB of free data--a paltry amount compared to Dropbox's 2GB, Google Drive's 5GB and SkyDrive's 7GB.
Additional data is often more expensive than the competition as well. Premium plans start at $2.99 per month for 25GB, and go up to $9.99 per month for 125GB. Both Google Drive and SkyDrivecharge lower rates for their paid storage plans.
For mobile apps, Verizon Cloud supports Android for now, with iPhone support coming soon, but the app won't work on non-Verizon phones and tablets.
Users can also access their files through a web browser or download desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux, but a Verizon login is required to access any documents that are stored online. In other words, if you switch to another carrier, you'd better make sure to grab all your data first.
What is it good for?
Verizon Cloud isn't completely useless. Unlike other cloud-storage services, Verizon Cloud can save copies of text messages and call logs. (Some third-party Android apps allow SMS backups to cloud-storage services, but Verizon's version is built in.)
Still, judging from the user reviews of the Android app, Verizon has a lot of bug squashing to do.
Verizon isn't the only carrier that's dabbling in cloud storage with unimpressive results. AT&T has its own Locker service, but again, it won't work on non-AT&T phones and tablets, and its apps aren't nearly as slick as those of the competition.
Compared with either carrier's service, better options exist for cloud storage of documents, photos, and video. Let's hope most subscribers realize it.