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Using the Cloud to Backup all of your Photos, Videos, and Music

Updated on August 19, 2012
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What is the Cloud?

Most of us use cloud storage every single day without even knowing it. Have you ever checked your email using Gmail, Yahoo, or an Outlook.com account? Have you ever used Google's voice search or Apple's Siri? Have you ever uploaded a picture to Flickr or Facebook? If you have done any of these things then you have already used cloud technology.

Cloud refers to a technology that allows your device to use the storage space or computing power of another computer--more specifically a cloud server. When you read an email or look at pictures on Facebook you are looking at content that is stored on another computer. Just like you could view emails stored on another server you could also store and access your photos, videos, and music on a cloud storage server. This is sort of like streaming a video from Netflix except that you are streaming your own pictures, music, and videos. Having your files stored on a separate computer like this can come in handy in an emergency.

Protecting your Photos, Videos, and Music

If your smartphone were to be lost, stolen, or mauled by a lion. There is chance that you will lose all of your pictures, videos, and music. However, you will not lose pictures that you posted on Facebook nor will you lose any of your emails. This is because all of that stuff is "stored in the clouds".

Just as Facebook stores your pictures and Gmail stores your email. Cloud storage can be used as backup or primary storage for all of your photos, videos, and music. Another advantage of cloud storage is that it can be used to store all of your files in a single place that can be accessed from anywhere. Just like you can check your email at work or on a friends computer. You can also access your photos, videos, and music from any computer, phone, or tablet. That means you can take a picture with your phone and view it later on a computer or tablet without having to transfer files from device to device. This is even easier if all of your devices are running Google's Android Operating System or other devices that are supported by the same cloud storage server.

Android 3D Gallery with Integrated Picasa

First, select the picture and then press the menu button or simply just long press on the picture.
First, select the picture and then press the menu button or simply just long press on the picture. | Source
Next, choose share and then choose Picasa.
Next, choose share and then choose Picasa. | Source

Amazon Mp3 for Android

Where can my files be kept safe from lions?

There are many good cloud storage options for storing photos, videos, and music. The first that I would recommend is Picasa. Picasa is a Google service used to store photos. It is integrated with Android Open Source therefore a lot of Android phones have Picasa integration built into the default camera application as well as the default gallery application. This allows you to easily snap a picture and upload them to Picasa by long pressing a picture, selecting share, and then choosing Picasa.

If you have the Google+ app then there is an option to automatically upload pictures to a private folder in Picasa. There is also no signup or setup necessary to use Picasa if you are running Android Open Source. The drawback about Picasa is you only get 1 GB of free storage. That roughly equates to 400 pictures at 8 megapixel quality. You can also upload video to Picasa but it is subject to the 1 GB size limit.

The next photo storage option that I would recommend is Flickr. If you have an HTC branded Android phone then your camera app and gallery will be integrated with Flickr. Flickr lets you upload 2 videos and 300 MB worth of photos every month. Although Flickr has a monthly upload limit, there isn't a total storage limit like there is on Picasa. The second benefit of Flickr over Picasa is the official Flickr app. The Flickr app can be downloaded on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store--making Flickr a good cross platform choice.

The one drawback is that you have to create a Flickr account. You don't automatically have one by default. Luckily, Flickr is a Yahoo product and it also supports Facebook Connect and Google Accounts. If you have a Yahoo account then you should be able to just sign in. If not, signing up using your Google account or Facebook should be quick and easy.

The best storage option for music is Amazon. Amazon offers an Amazon Mp3 app for Android users. The app features a built-in music player that allows you to easily browse and play your music files. Amazon offers unlimited storage for all music purchased through Amazon. For iPhone users these songs are playable through the Amazon Cloud Player which you can access with your browser. Amazon also gives you 5 GB of free music storage for the Mp3s that you did not purchase from Amazon. The drawback with the Amazon Mp3 App is it does not allow you to upload song through the app. You have to upload the song through a web app on your browser.


Amazon Mp3 App in Action

Screenshot from Android HTC Inspire 4G streaming a song through Amazon Mp3 Cloud Player
Screenshot from Android HTC Inspire 4G streaming a song through Amazon Mp3 Cloud Player | Source

The Good, The Bad, and The Future

Just as there are advantages to cloud storage there are also disadvantages. Using cloud storage requires that you have connectivity with the server. This means you either have to be connected through Wi-Fi or have a data plan. Whenever you are accessing content directly from the clouds you are also subject to download speeds. This is not a problem if you have a really fast connection or if you are just viewing pictures and playing music. However, you could be subject to buffering if you are trying to access a video directly through the clouds. If you are in an area with no Wi-Fi and no data reception then you could be disconnected from your files. Consequently, if there are files that you must have access to then you may want to store those critical files on a micro SD card.

Other disadvantages of cloud based storage include the vulnerability of the server itself to viruses, hacking, information theft, server downtime/maintenance, or maybe lions mauling the server.

An added drawback is the limited amount of space that you get for free. Typically, cloud storage providers give you about 5 GB of free space. This is nothing to scoff at, but it does seem small compared to a 32 GB micro SD card. However, competition in the cloud storage service industry is fierce and companies find themselves having to offer more free space or better services in order to compete. This is great for us and nothing prevents us from signing up for all of the different services at the same time. You can sign up for 7 or 8 of them and end up with about 35 or 40 GB of free space.

Managing an account for each cloud storage provider plus downloading and learning how to use all of the different apps seems like it is more trouble than its worth. Fortunately, there happens to be an app just for managing different cloud storage services all under a single unified interface. It will be the subject of a future hub as I think this topic is expansive enough to warrant its own hub.

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    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Cloud computing is the driving force to many small, medium and large companies. I see cloud services being pillar for every business today especially when it comes to data storage and backup.

      I like the layout of this article and it is well written with resourceful information. Voted up, useful and shared.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Thank you, dwachira for reading and commenting on my Hub. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and provide me feedback. Cloud computing is very important in business today and I think in the future it will become even more important for consumers as well.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      So this is a cloud...now I am getting it. I value this information and will keep this in mind :) Obviously I am not very techy LOL

      Yes indeed your hub has been nominated on the Hubnuggets. Check this hub, you can vote here too https://hubpages.com/community/August-2012-Olympic...

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Hello ripplemaker, Thank you for taking the time to read my Hub. I really appreciate it. My goal is to try to make technology easier to understand and more useful for people. I have a followup to this Hub that goes into detail how to setup cloud storage on your smartphones and how to best take advantage of cloud storage. The Hub is called "Organizing Cloud Storage on your Mobile Phones".

    • movielardatadare profile image

      movielardatadare 4 years ago from Texas

      Nice touch with the mauled by lions! I enjoyed laughing at that part. Very informative piece because I'm not what I would call techy. I'm one of those figure it out as I go along kind of dudes. This hub is one of the few (and actually first hub) hubs that I will actually read concerning smart phones. I truly hope you win the HubNuggets competition. Great hub.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Thank you movielardatadare , I am really glad that you liked my Hub. If you get the chance please vote for me. I look forward to reading more of your Hubs. I got to read a couple of them today and I enjoy your writing.

    • movielardatadare profile image

      movielardatadare 4 years ago from Texas

      Consider it done. I've already voted for you and I hope you win.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Excellent movielardatadare, I really appreciate your support. I hope I am I fortunate enough to win.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      I know beans about high tech stuff, so this was most helpful to me on several levels. As I continue to develop my eBay business, I realize that I can't always depend on my son to be my "Go To" tech guy. After voting this great piece Up, Awesome, and Interesting, I went on to vote for you in the HubNugget tech showdown. Thanks so much for helping tech illiterates like me! Aloha!

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Thank you hawaiianodysseus , I appreciate you reading my article and voting for me on HubNuggets. I am glad that this article was helpful to you.

      I am sure that I can learn a lot from your Hubs. I like your writing style so I am sure I can learn a lot about writing from you. I look forward to reading more of your Hubs.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Congrats on the HubNuggets! Lots of good info here. I vote up and sharing too.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Thank you ChristyWrites, this is exciting for me because I am new to online publishing. As a new writer I wonder whether people read my articles or find them useful. This nomination relieves some of those insecurities. Thank you for voting it up and sharing.

    • Steel Engineer profile image

      Steel Engineer 4 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine

      The problem I have with the "cloud" is that it is nothing more than servers maintained by other people.

      The eventual goal of those "people" is to never again sell ownership of software. Instead, it will all be a "utility", and you will get a utility bill, just like the other monopolized resources: water, heat, electricity, gas, etc.

      Problems: reduces competition by increasing the cost to enter the market. People will only own a portal, or access hub. They will not have the ability to install software and run it. This means independent developers cannot easily sell their work without compensating those who control the "cloud". Second, all files will be stored offsite- easily searchable by anyone. Today, you can still keep a non-bluetooth laptop off the grid by not connecting a hard line. In a future with the "cloud", that will be impossible.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      What you are saying is definitely a possibility. I think some companies will offer cloud services in order to get people to rent server space instead of owning and hosting everything in house.

      What you are saying about never selling ownership of software can also be true. You see this in the gaming industry where people pay for a gaming license instead of owning the game itself.

      I do however think that the future server markets will be mixed markets. Some people will opt to have servers on site and some will outsource all of their server needs to cloud service providers.

      Most business decide whether to use cloud or not in the same way they decide whether they will outsource their payroll department. You can do payroll in house, but most companies outsource payroll because its cheaper.

      I expect cloud will work the same way for some of the things. People will use the cloud for certain things that they can trust the cloud to provide and will not use it for other things that they can't trust the cloud with. They will use cloud where it is cheap and they won't use it where it is expensive. Where data security becomes an issue cloud security will be a product offering by service providers or product requirement for prospective clients.

      For the most part the cloud industry will stay competitive. The model of it being like a utility doesn't fit because server infrastructure is not like water, heat, electricity, or gas. The cloud providers themselves don't own the channels through which information flows.

      In your area the water utility owns the water pipes. The power company owns the power lines. The gas company owns the gas pipes. The cable companies own the coax cable and the fiber optic broadband providers own the fiber. Unless there is ton of vertical integration along with consolidation in these markets. I don't see it happening where cloud will have a natural monopoly like the utilities have. You also need to take into account that all of these utilities are regulated.

      How many choices do you have for gas utility services? Probably one and it always has been this way. How many cloud storage providers are there that you have access to for personal storage of files? There are at least 20.

      The cloud infrastructure doesn't take up enough public physical space to become natural monopolies. Cloud providers typically only own the building that holds the servers and the servers themselves. They don't own the lines, antennae, satellites, or frequencies on which information travels on or are broadcast through.

      Thank your for you engaging comment. I look forward to reading some of your work as I am sure I will enjoy it.

    • g-girl11 profile image

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      My son and his friends are very familiar with this whole "cloud concept". I have to say that although you explain it very well, I am still in "the clouds" a bit. (Pun intended) You are fortunate to be so tech-savvy! And congrats on your hubnugget nomination!

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Thank you for congratulating me. It was an honor for me to be nominated.

      I actually have another Hub that I wrote as a companion to this Hub. My other Hub gives detailed information for setting up cloud storage on your phone and managing it. When you start to use the cloud more extensively then you will see that it is much simpler than it seems. I am sure you will get it in no time.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for taking some of the mystery out of the clouds for me! Your hub explained the cloud systems so well, and made a good case for moving files into one of the cloud severs. I will be looking into storage options for my photographs as losing them would be devastating. Voted up and useful!

    • movielardatadare profile image

      movielardatadare 4 years ago from Texas

      Way to go, Gamerelated! Glad to hear that you won! You definitely deserve to.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Hello Stephanie Henkel, I am glad that you found my Hub useful. I have several different friends that have lost photos to viruses and also to hard drive failure. Our photos are irreplaceable, so photos are one of the things that I think everybody should have a backup of.

      Storing the photos on cloud storage will also give you access to the photo from any place that has an internet connection.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Thanks movielardatadare. Thanks for reading my articles and voting for me. I really appreciate it. I would also like to thank you for the support and encouragement.

    • lauramaryscott profile image

      lauramaryscott 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Thank you, gamerelated, for helping us peer into the clouds a bit. I do not have a cell phone, it's true. The only time I want one is when I am traveling or when I am lost going to a friend's house. The way I have learned how to do things, like run a computer, is to purchase one and dive in. Since I don't need one, your HubPages article gave me some insight into the clouds and it helped me understand a little better my kids' lingo on this techy stuff. Thank you.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Hello lauramaryscott,

      It took me a long time before I got a cell phone myself. Even when I did get a cell phone I was never interested in the more expensive and trendy phones. This all changed when phones started becoming more like computers. I was always into computers because of what computers are capable of.

      Ever since the transition from cellphone to smartphone, smartphones have been doing more and more. They are able to take the place of many other devices. A smartphone now can work as a digital camera, MP3 player, portable video player, and GPS navigation system. You can use smartphones to play games, surf the internet, read eBooks, and buy things. The smartphone is changing the world the way the computers changed the world when it was first introduced. Everyday people are figuring out ways to do more and more with their smartphones. I am excited to see what is next.

      Thanks for stopping by to read my Hub. I look forward to reading some of your Hubs.

    • lauramaryscott profile image

      lauramaryscott 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Thank you, Gamerelated, I did not realize the difference between the two. My daughter has a smart phone and she uses it almost all day long. Please read my Tick article as it is important for people to know. Thanks.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Hi lauramaryscott,

      With my comment above I didn't mean to imply that you didn't notice the difference. I hope that you don't take it that way. I was just giving background on how I became interested in smartphones. I became interested during that transition period.

      Thank you for recommending an article for me to read. I will go read it.

    • Cathleena Beams profile image

      Cathleena Beams 4 years ago from Lascassas, Tennessee

      Great information. I had never thought about this before I read your hub although I have used cloud storage quite a bit. I have used Google Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook, as well as my websites. Great hub!

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Hello Cathleena Beams , cloud is becoming more and more ubiquitous as well as seamless. Cloud is everywhere and we use it without knowing about it.

      I wrote this article so that people can take full advantage of the cloud. I think the clouds greatest potential is seen on mobile phones. Computers are often powerful enough to run and store most things internally.

      If you want to watch a flash video on your computer or store 50,000 songs then you could probably do it on your computer. A lot of phones are not capable of this and that is where the cloud comes into play. One example is the Apple iPhone. The iPhone cannot run flash natively. Therefore flash has to be processed by a computer first and then that digested information is sent to the phone. This allows Apple to take advantage of flash without having to have flash on the phone.

      The cloud is often used to extend the processing capabilities of the phone as well as the storage capability. Some examples of this would be Apple's Siri and Opera Browser's Turbo Mode. Both of these services are provided to your phone via a computer.

      When you speak to Siri the phone does not process it. The phone sends the voice to Apple and a computer at Apple processes the question and then sends the results back to your phone.

      Opera Browser will send your page request to a computer and that computer will process the web page and then send it back to your phone. Since the data is being broken into smaller pieces by the computer the phone doesn't have to download as much data. This will increase your browsing speed and reduce the amount of data being used on your data plan.

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my article.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      I saved my favorites in the cloud but I wasn't sure what I was doing. I know it did help me get back addresses when my smart phone lost some. If my phone every gets mauled by a lion I know where to look for all my stuff. Great hub voted up and sharing.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Hello moonlake, storing your addresses in the clouds can also help if you are upgrading to a new phone. You can sync all of your contact information, apps, and phone settings to the clouds and then when you log in to your new phone you can retrieve all of that information.

      I am always testing new software on my phone so I find myself erasing everything on my phone and then restoring it using the clouds. Its very helpful to me as a software tester.

    • alphagirl profile image

      alphagirl 4 years ago from USA

      I was excited about my 4gs and the cloud until I realized my current mac 10.6.8 would not let me sync both ways. The cloud is good if you have a newer computer than snow leopard. It is not compatible both ways..boo-hoo.

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      When you say cloud are you referring to Apple's iCloud? As far as Apple goes a lot of their stuff is proprietary and they decide when they will provide support and when they will not provide support for their devices and you may not have other options unless you look outside of Apple, depending on Apple's policy.

      However there are a lot of providers of cloud services and cloud storage outside of Apple some of these providers are compatible with Apple, Android, PC, and Linux. Some of them just require you to have access to a browser and the internet. One example of that is Amazon MP3. They will allow you store music on their server from which you can stream from any internet connected device. Amazon MP3 works as long as you have browser and connection to the internet.

      I prefer non proprietary solutions like Amazon MP3 over proprietary solutions such as iTunes. They tend to have official cross platform support. If you have a problem with Amazon MP3 they will help you no matter what device you are using. I don't think Apple will help you if you try to get iTunes running on a Samsung Galaxy S3.

      As far as syncing your phone and computer it depends on what you are trying to sync. For example if you are trying to sync files such as documents, music, and photos you could use DropBox or Box. Box is giving 25GB for free right now and their sync software is compatible with Snow Leopard. I hope this is helpful to you.

      25 GB Box link:

      https://www.box.com/signup/o/hellosign_25

    • aa lite profile image

      aa lite 4 years ago from London

      I have been seriously thinking about getting more into cloud storage since, getting a macbook air, which has hardly any hard disk. Somehow I don't feel I need it so much for my phones. I believe if you have an iTunes account, you automatically get cloud space for your iTunes music and movies? I think I remember downlaoding some iTunes stuff that I already owned on my laptop from the cloud.

      Other than that I have been thinking of Amazon or Google storage. But then I also used dropbox at work. Is that a sort of cloud storage that you can also share with other people?

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

      Hello aa lite,

      It is true that some of the providers of cloud storage will also sell you content and store it for you. iTunes and Amazon will actually give you unlimited space for anything that you purchase from them. On top of the unlimited space you get for content that you buy from Amazon you will also get 5 GB of extra space for non Amazon content.

      Cloud storage providers like DropBox do allow you to share with other users. You can share by giving other users direct access to your cloud storage folders or you can share by sharing a link which will allow others to download a particular file.

      The are a few benefits to store things in the clouds. One benefit is that it gives you more space, but if you find that you aren't using all of the space then this will not matter to you as much. The second benefit is for the purpose of having a backup. Sometimes phones get lost or damage and storing stuff in the clouds can help you recover some of your pictures, contacts, and other content. The third benefit is being able to access your files from anywhere and any device.

      One example is if I take a pictures with my phone then I will have access to it on my tablet and computer as well. Many of the pictures that you see used in this article were screenshots from my phone. Instead of having to connect a cable from my phone to the computer or pulling out my SD card and transferring the pictures to the computer I have my phone set to automatically sync my photos to a private folder in Picasa.

      From my computer I can access Picasa directly and either download the photos or I can use HubPages to import the file directly from Picasa by using the photos URL that Picasa assigns to your pictures when you make them non private. Picasa can also be used to manage the licenses of your photos. Thank you for commenting.

    • radharenu profile image

      radharenu 3 years ago from India

      Hi

      Excellent hub! Very well explained 'cloud concept'. I vote it up. You may like this too -

      http://www.the-tech-addict.com/restore-iphone-from...

    • Gamerelated profile image
      Author

      Gamerelated 3 years ago from California

      Thanks for reading the article and commenting.

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