If you think that you need access to yet another cloud storage solution like you need another hole in your head, let us tell you: You need another hole in your head. Making it’s debut last week, Amazon Cloud Drive is the latest service offering to take care of your cloud-based storage needs. Giving all users five GBs of free storage space very agreeable music streaming capabilities, Amazon’s Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services may be the cloud computing solution you’ve been waiting for. To help get your Amazon cloud storage empire off on the right foot, we’ve put together a collection of ten of the best tips and tricks we’ve uncovered for the fledgling service.
Amazon is offering up 20 GB of additional cloud storage for free to anyone that purchases an album from Amazon MP3. Given Amazon MP3’s wide selection of artists and reasonable pricing, you’d be nuts not to jump at the chance for those extra gigabytes. It’s worth noting that any music you purchase from Amazon MP3 will automatically be made available via Cloud Player, but doesn’t detract from your total amount of storage space. Nice!
For those of you just tuning in, aside from offering reasonably priced cloud storage solution, Amazon Cloud Drive is also a brilliant way to stream your music at the low, low cost of free. Just upload the tracks you want to listen to, navigate to your Cloud Player, or access it via Amazon’s free Cloud Player app for Android, BlackBerry or Web OS and you’ll be picking tunes out of the air in no time. IOS device users? Sorry. For the time being, you’re out of luck unless you do this…
It’s a little rough and tumble but it can be done. Using your iOS device’s Safari browser, navigate to your Cloud Drive interface. Open up the music folder, and select the audio file you want to hear. Now, click the Download button. The the file will be streamed from your Amazon Cloud account to your iOS device and played via Quicktime. Sadly you'll only be able to play one tune at a time using this method, but it's better than nothing, right?
Sure you could use your Amazon Cloud Drive’s file upload utility to get your computer-side MP3 files online, but the company offers a far more eloquent solution. Steer your Browser over to your Cloud Player page and upload your files from there. You’ll be presented with the option to download an application that will locate your iTunes or Windows Media Player libraries, tell you which files can be uploaded, how much space they’ll take up and how long before the transfer process is complete. The application will even point out which of your audio files aren’t compatible with Amazon Cloud Player. Now that’s service.
At the time that this story was written, Amazon Cloud Player offered no keyboard shortcuts. Fortunately, If you’re a Firefox or Chrome user, KeyMazony does. Providing you with essentials such as volume control, track selection play and pause, KeyMazony should keep you going until if and when Amazon decides to provide Cloud Player users with a desktop client. The extension can be found here for Chrome and here if you’re using Firefox.
You can never have too many backups of your files. Even if you’re already using a service like Dropbox, Sugarsync or Box.net, it never hurts to have a tertiary backup of your most valuable data. At this time, Amazon Cloud drive doesn’t have the slick automatic sync services of competitors like Dropbox, it does offer 5GB of free storage—that’s enough space to back up all of the files from that free Dropbox account you’ve been rocking for the past few years two times over. Trust us, when you suffer a major crash, you’ll be glad you took the time to set up an additional recovery solution.
Amazon Cloud Drive comes with four default folders: Documents, Music, Pictures and Video. That said, Amazon makes creating, moving and deleting around new folders a cinch as well. As your online storage kingdom grows (and it will), it’s best to try and maintain some level of organization. After all, the only thing harder to find than a missing file on your PC is a missing file lost somewhere in the clouds.
If you’re anything like we are, you’ve got a lot invested in your cloud service of choice: Application preferences, documents for work, photos and even a few movies. If your primary cloud account is starting to feel a little crowded, consider moving large, infrequently accessed files over to your Amazon Cloud Account. Doing so will allow you to continue to rock your primary account in the manner to which you’ve become accustomed without being forced to pay any extra for additional storage space.
While 5 GBs of free online storage sounds great, Amazon has stung their customers in the past with other virtual offerings. Remember a while back when they removed content from Kindle eBook readers without any prior warning or consent? Well, in reading over the legalese for Amazon Cloud Drive, we stumbled across this jewel of a clause:
“Our Right to Access Your Files. You give us the right to access, retain, use and disclose your account information and Your Files: to provide you with technical support and address technical issues; to investigate compliance with the terms of this Agreement, enforce the terms of this Agreement and protect the Service and its users from fraud or security threats; or as we determine is necessary to provide the Service or comply with applicable law.”
Yeah. That was our reaction too. It goes without saying that you should be careful what you stash in your Cloud Drive, but we’re saying it anyway. BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU STASH IN YOUR CLOUD DRIVE.
While Amazon Cloud Drive may not offer the native support for iOS devices or application integration that well seasoned cloud services such as Dropbox do, we see a lot of promise here. Already offering up one of the best online music streaming services around from the get-go, we’ve got a feeling that Amazon has a few more tricks geared towards taking on Apple and Google’s online empires up their digital sleeve. As time wears on, there’s little doubt that added features and application support will make Amazon Cloud Drive a force to be reckoned with.