Amazon.com has added a file-syncing feature to its online storage product, Cloud Drive, putting the service on par with competitors such as Dropbox and Google's Drive.
[HEAD TO HEAD: Azure overtakes Amazon's cloud]
The syncing feature will allow users to view an up-to-date file across several devices. Cloud Drive is a desktop application for Windows and Mac, and Amazon.com also has a version designed for Android, just for photos. Amazon.com also offers a Web-based upload panel if users don't want to download the desktop application.
Online storage applications are a very competitive market segment. The services allow users to spread the same version of a file across several computers and prevent the loss of a file in case a computer is lost or stolen or breaks. But it is also an area where technical glitches and performance issues are a concern.
Late last month, Google Drive suffered three service problems that prevented some users from accessing their files and applications. One of those outages lasted three hours and affected about a third of requests to the service. Effects included error messages, long load times and timeouts.
Dropbox, which uses Amazon's Web Services for its infrastructure, had problems with syncing and uploading files in January.
Amazon.com's Cloud Drive desktop application is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8, and Mac OS X versions 10.6 through 10.8. Cloud Drive offers 5GB of free storage, with annual subscription packages going up to 1,000GB for US$500.
The company has incorporated Cloud Drive into its Kindle Fire tablet. Photos uploaded to Cloud Drive will appear in the Kindle Fire's Photo library as well as the Cloud Drive Photos application on an Android device. Photos that are uploaded from an Android device are also copied into the Cloud Drive folder on a desktop computer.
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