I’m a committed and active Amazon customer. I buy just about everything from Amazon, and I back up my Mac to Amazon Glacier via the powerful (and often overlooked by tech pundits) Arq. So when I saw that Amazon has upped the ante in the cloud wars by offering unlimited cloud space for $60 a month, I was interested. I back up many hundreds of gigabytes to Amazon Glacier, and it costs me around $8.00 a month. $60.00 a year, even plus tax, would be a cost savings. But the bigger advantage would (or should) be accessibility. Glacier storage is dirt cheap, but the files are not easy accessible.
I’m not bothered by the lack of a true Mac app for Amazon Cloud. Sure, there’s an app, but it’s mostly a front end for the web interface. There’s no sync, selective or otherwise. But that’s OK, because I don’t think Amazon is trying to fill the exact same need Dropbox does. Rather, I think Amazon is positioning itself as off-site storage. A place to put things to get them off your computer and in the cloud, not onto all your computers and the cloud.
There are four things people need to save and store.
Music: There are many good and some free options. I use Google Play (which just greatly increased the amount of songs you can store from a too small number of 20,000 to a plenty big enough number of 50,000, which makes it feasible for long-time music buyers like me). iTunes Match is a possibility, and there are others. Amazon Cloud Drive does a pretty good job with music, but I tried it before, and it lost out to Google. So there’s nothing new to make me change my plan (and the thought of re-uploading all those songs that I finally got in place and organized in Google Play gives Google a bit of a moat).
Photos: Again, there are a lot of options, but the battle for photos in the cloud is still being fought. I’m hoping that the best thing about the new, cheap Amazon Cloud Drive will be free or cheaper iCloud space when Apple releases its forthcoming Photos app. I’d love Apple to solve the photos in the cloud problem, because I manage my photos in iPhoto. If it doesn’t, Amazon may be the answer. But as a Prime member, Amazon will already store my photos for free, so I don’t need an Amazon Cloud Drive plan for that.
Miscellaneous files: Unlike space hogging photo and video libraries, there is a benefit to syncing miscellaneous files, so you can access them and work with them everywhere. I don’t have a lot of text files and miscellany that I need to offload to the cloud. Some of it is of a nature that I want to store locally, via Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner. The stuff I do want access to everywhere (Word files, Pages files, Hazel rules, etc.) is handled very well via iCloud (mostly) and Dropbox (for some stuff). I don’t see Amazon Cloud Drive as a player in the document storage, sync and access game.
Videos: OK, here we go. I have hundreds of videos. Films I made back in the day. Home movies. Photo slide shows. Currently, these make up the bulk of my massive Amazon Glacier repository. It would be a little cheaper to store them in Amazon Cloud Drive, and they would be easier to access. All I need to jump in with both feet is the ability to view them from their cloud based home. But no.
Is this the end of the world? No. Do I understand why Amazon doesn’t want to bear the cost of being my private YouTube? Sure. Does this make me rethink my video storage and archival work-flow. Yep.
It sounded just a little too good to be true.