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Five cloud apps for file sharing

When it comes to file sharing, you have a lot of cloud apps to choose from. Here are five solid contenders that are affordable and easy to use.

Everybody is talking about file sharing in the cloud these days. But what does that mean to you -- and which apps are best? This article explores five popular (and free or free-to-try) cloud apps you can use to share files among devices or with your co-workers, clients, friends, and family.

1: Dropbox

Dropbox is the granddaddy of cloud file storage apps, available for Windows, Linux, and Mac desktop computers, as well as iPhone and Android phones. The idea behind Dropbox is a simple one: After you install the application, a Dropbox folder appears on your desktop, and you can drag and drop and organize your files in that one folder, which is stored in the cloud. This means you can work with that folder on multiple computers or on your mobile device and your synchronized files are always just a click or tap away. Dropbox gives you 2GB of storage space when you sign up for a free account. If you want to increase the amount of space available for your files, you can upgrade to a Pro 50 account and get 50GB for $9.99 per month or get 100GB for a monthly fee of $19.99.

2: SoonR

SoonR is another popular cloud offering that gives you tools for sharing files across multiple devices and platforms. One big difference here is that the only free thing about SoonR is its 30-day trial period; after that, the premium plan ($9.99/month) enables you to share 25GB of storage with three team members. You can also upgrade your account to a Pro account ($29.99/month), which increases your team members to five and your storage space to 100GB.

SoonR is iPhone, Android, and Blackberry friendly, so you can easily share, sync, and view your files no matter where you are during the day. SoonR seems to be more geared toward enterprise (or at least SMB) use; if you're just sharing files with yourself, a free app might work just as well.

3: SugarSync

SugarSync is another multiplatform-friendly cloud offering that enables you to back up, synchronize, and share files on Windows and Mac computers and on a wide range of devices (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android, and Symbian). SugarSync seems to stand out a bit in the mobile realm; you can upload and sync files by email and sync your folders to your mobile device, which is great if you do lots of your work on the road. SugarSync offers a 5GB free account. You can also choose plans ranging from 30GB for $4.99/month to 250GB, which will put you back $24.99 each month.

4: ZumoDrive

ZumoDrive works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, and Palm Pre and seems to be making a lot of people happy. Designed to give you access to all your files -- music, documents, videos, photos, and more -- wherever you are and no matter what device or platform you're using, ZumoDrive's tag line is "cloud storage that appears local." ZumoDrive gives you 1GB of free storage. You can also choose a for-fee subscription plan that works for you --ranging from 10GB for $2.99/month all the way up to 500GB for $79.99/month.

You can easily link folders on your computer and devices to ZumoDrive and use the service's integration with iTunes to organize, sync, and arrange your music lists without downloading the files to your computer. Sharing with others is also super-simple: Just enter the email addresses of folks you want to be able to share your files.

5: SendSpace

SendSpace is a file-sharing utility that's been around since 2005. It includes a desktop tool -- for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems -- and mobile apps for iPhone and Android phones. SendSpace's claim to fame is that you can share gargantuan files with others securely, and it functions more like a conduit for your files (you're sending them, after all) than a cloud storage space for information you want to share with others. This ability to send mega-size files has worked well for me. I've used it to send gigabytes of book files to colleagues in other countries, and the service has been easy to use and reasonably prompt for those times when I need to deliver a file right away.

SendSpace is free and allows you to share files without registering. But if you sign up for one of the premium accounts (ranging in price from $6.99 to $49.99), you get increasing amounts of bandwidth and storage space -- and best of all, no ads!

Other file-sharing apps?

What are your favorite file-sharing cloud apps? Share your recommendations with other TechRepublic members.

About

Katherine Murray is a technology writer and the author of more than 60 books on a variety of topics, ranging from small business technology to green computing to blogging to Microsoft Office 2010. Her most recent books include Microsoft Office 2010 P...

30 comments
Barns.H
Barns.H

Great App for getting the most secure file sharing ability for your documents. This is a great new app that lets you keep your data safe and secure and allows you to share it securely with other team members. Agora Briefcase allows you, your colleagues, your clients and your friends can now use a tablet to view shared documents organized in groups we call Briefcases. Create a Briefcase easily, add members and start adding your documents. All members receive all documents and updates automatically and securely on their iPad. Link = http://bit.ly/briefcases This is one of the best File Sharing Apps on the iTunes Store. For a full list of their apps, please visit www.algoryt.hm

Barns.H
Barns.H

Great App for getting the most secure file sharing ability for your documents. This is a great new app that lets you keep your data safe and secure and allows you to share it securely with other team members. Agora Briefcase allows you, your colleagues, your clients and your friends can now use a tablet to view shared documents organized in groups we call Briefcases. Create a Briefcase easily, add members and start adding your documents. All members receive all documents and updates automatically and securely on their iPad. Link = http://bit.ly/briefcases This is one of the best File Sharing Apps on the iTunes Store. For a full list of their apps, please visit www.algoryt.hm

Barns.H
Barns.H

A comprehensive professional file sharing iPad app for everyday information exchange in companies, providing complete security to your documents and confidential information. This is a great new app that lets you keep your data safe and secure and allows you to share it securely with other team members. If anyone is looking for a particularly useful professional file sharing app, I would highly recommend Agora Briefcase. With AGORA™ Briefcase App you can now carry your documents organized in groups we call Briefcases. All briefcase members receive all documents and updates automatically and securely on their tablet. A great tool! Link = http://bit.ly/briefcases This is one of the best File Sharing Apps on the iTunes Store. For a full list of their apps, please visit www.algoryt.hm

sensaris
sensaris

We are using http://www.yobidrive.com You can choose between ease of use with download links that do not need registration, or full privacy with their unique strongroom mode ( in this case participants have to download a free app that act as a key ).

Jaycreation
Jaycreation

A very hot subject at this time ! My probleme is that this services has no presentation layers. They are goods applications for internal needs, but we have to add public file on website to make them be shown by our customers or the journalist. I use a new service, the Reyner Media center with a very cute presentation layer. It's perfect for press dedicated spaces, of to present new product simply for the PME. See it on http://reynermedia.com

myangeldust
myangeldust

Folks, you can get a Windows Home Server or an Iomega Personal Cloud and save your money in the long run! The Home Server can be installed on some old PC. The Iomega is just a network-connected hard drive. Either one allows you to create cloud that you can access from anywhere in the world with security of your own choosing. You can keep it to yourself or share it with friends/colleagues in variable levels of access. You can stream music or video, too! They can even backup your computer. These other services are a waste of time for anyone that wants more than share some pics on SkyDrive (the only other viable alternative).

cwarner7_11
cwarner7_11

I have toyed with SkyDrive, ADrive, UbuntuOne and DropBox, and looked at a few others. My primary purpose is to share files with others that are too large for e-mail attachments- generally not video or pictures, however. The easiest to use has been DropBox. All of the ones I have tried have been free of charge (at least at the level I have used them). What makes DropBox easier to use, in my mind, is that apparently, the recipient does not need to be registered to access the shared file. I have also had some issues with accessing my account (server down or slow link) with some of these- DropBox seems more reliable. Another option that I have played with is attaching files to my LinkedIn profile (using SlideShare). I haven't had much feedback on that from recipients, however. One thing that needs to be borne in mind- no matter how secure the site claims to be, the best assumption is that once the information has been sent to the cloud, it is there for all to see. Don't share what you wouldn't share with the whole world...

aaalvh
aaalvh

I am currently a premium user for evernote I started using it free (I did non remenber the free storage) I do like the seach orptions, the speed, it works in background and is wailable on PC, Android maybe other plateform at a good price. I also use it for my small business company http://www.tafa.biz in order to exchange training materials, id??e, backup for files .... I shoud recommend for any user ti check the plateforms supported, teh security, and of course the price (in the price the training materials and helpdesk !). best regards. Alain

aaalvh
aaalvh

you can increase you dropbox size by .25giga per recomendation and I am currently an happy free user with 6 giga it works on any plateforms (pc, android, apple) and I am using it a lot in my business and private life to share pictures & video in family or my BNI group here in Cannes on the french riviera and running my business as described n www.tafa.biz. wery user friendly :-)

RetiredGeek
RetiredGeek

The Basic Plan (free) offers 50GB of storage space with file sharing. The paid plans offer more features and space.

keith.manning
keith.manning

I've tried them all and now my company uses Nomadesk.

Stevelew
Stevelew

Setup your own server at home with ftp protocol and have your own unlimited storage. Just a crappy old PC running Linux will work well. Heck even charge your friends for drive space.

TheDocWatson
TheDocWatson

I have been using SpiderOak for a few weeks, and I really appreciate the encryption they provide. You can try it free (2g) and then it's 100 g for $100/year. Their de-duplication and SYNC features allow you to backup two different devices and keep them synced with only a fraction of the file volume charged to your account. Awesome service.

anandagar
anandagar

I have tried dropbox. I think its amazing.

alanobrien31
alanobrien31

idrive (www.idrive.com) who offer the following. I do not work for idrive but i do use them for my clients and personal use and have found them to be very good over the last couple years. IDrive Pro for Personal Use Storage Space Monthly Rate Yearly Rate 150 GB $4.95 $49.50 IDrive Pro - Family Pack Storage Space Monthly Rate Yearly Rate 500 GB $14.95 $149.50 IDrive Pro for Business Storage Space Monthly Rate Yearly Rate 50 GB $9.95 $99.50 100 GB $19.95 $199.50 500 GB $49.95 $499.50 1000 GB $79.95 $799.50

muto
muto

DropBox rocks becuase it runs on so many different platforms. iCloud is pretty nice if you only own Apple products, but Dropbox is totally cross platform. And DropBox offers not just 2gb for free, but 2.25gb free if you use this link http://db.tt/xecIguL and if you link and ,edu email address to your account (works for alumnae accounts as well) they double the extra rewards starting you off with 2.5gb, and every time you get a referal you get another 0.5gb free up to 16gb. And if you install the DropBox app for the same account on multple computers and do some other things they give you anothe free 0.25gb. Check it out.

Slyce
Slyce

smestorage.com - your files from Amazon S3, Open S3 (any S3 compatible cloud), EMC Atmos, Amazon Cloud Drive, RackSpace Cloud Files, OpenStack, Box.net, Windows Live SkyDrive, Windows Live Mesh, Windows Azure, Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint, Google Docs, Google Storage, Google Apps Mail, GMail-as-a-Cloud, Google Sites, DropBox, iDisk/MobileMe, Mezeo, Zimbra, FilesAnywhere, CloudMe, SafeSync, Alfresco Cloud, iKeepinCloud, PogoPlug, Email-as-a-Cloud, FTP-as-a-Cloud, and any WebDAV compliant cloud - within one virtual file system.

mitchbf
mitchbf

I find it ironic that in the same email where I found this link, there was another which discussed Skydrive and how with 25GB of free storage, it was a great deal, yet it wasn't even mentioned here...

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

You'll see software in many categories that you can file transfer to your computer.Some,because of their Demo traits,are limited in their function.You can only extract one hundred mb's with this one or that one will file convert but the file ends up being one hundred times bigger.Most have the EULA or End Users License Agreement.This is a legal looking and sounding outcropping of crud that I never read at all.I see it as a bunch of thugs in a parking building.It's very exciting to see a pen drive Windows 7 work!I truly have never had so much fun in my whole life as with computers and software.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Someday somebody will write a program that gets rid of Shareware,EULA and Demo,I see it as a few registry settings,and you'll be able to fire up that good old Paint Shop Pro with pride.When you record to a CD you get thirty days each time.But what about those that burned the midnight oil to write those programs Mr. Balthor?First of all if it's in my computer it's mine and that's all she wrote.Software is esoteric.You could count on one hand the number or people that have downloaded files.I don't think that anybody uploads for money.In laws they would get government money for every download is probably true.Many sites are locked in in membership.You can't download the file unless you're a member or you answer their survey questions or subscribe to their magazine.It would be just too expensive to study computers if you had to pay these monthly fees.General conclusion Mr. Balthor?Something is very wrong in software and in computers.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

I collect software.In some of these share sites the software is ancient.Different versions of XP,live CD's even movies that I've never heard of.If you're looking for a program you can probably find it.You'll have to wait their thirty seconds and type in their captcha code and maybe download as many as ten or more split files.Hiren's boot CD is a collection of programs that's cool to have.I use paper envelopes with software titles penciled on them and I have stacks of disks that span the years.

mdolby
mdolby

Has anyone tried Otixo? You can connect your Dropbox, SugarSync, S3, MobileMe, Box, GoogleDocs, etc to it, see/manage all your files and share from one interface.

TNT
TNT

I've been using Ubuntu one (one.ubuntu.com) for the last 6 months and its great. 5Gb free storage. Paid services include syncing files and music on the go, and streaming music.

nrhudson
nrhudson

5gb free, many different client tools to sync files, up to 200GB paid space for 60$ a year.

TheDocWatson
TheDocWatson

I think many folks are looking for off-site backup which an FTP site in the office won't provide..... It's the redundancy off-site that's the benefit...

waltju
waltju

Yes--I tired of issues with Google Docs, and am now enjoying Skydrive.

FunTourBoss
FunTourBoss

I agree with you. For only $20 year I upgraded my Hotmail account to have no ads and more viewable space ang also got a total of 75GB of 'Cloud' space. That's a bargain. I also downloaded Gladinet, a free program, and it seemlessly ads my SkyDrive as avirtual drive to 'My Computer' with 'drag and drop' ability.And this option was left off the list. It should have rated #1.

nrhudson
nrhudson

I have 200GB of Google storage for 60$/year. http://www.insynchq.com is a new client I am trying out, which supports sync clients for PC and MAC that sync's your google documents with your computer at home. Best deal I found for cloud storage and sync client compatiblilty