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Amazon launches Cloud Drive online storage

5GB free storage, music streaming in US

Amazon Cloud Drive

You get 5GB of storage for free.

Amazon has launched a new online backup and storage service called Amazon Cloud Drive, which offers users 5GB of free storage and the option for more.

You can use the Cloud Drive to store any kind of file, although there’s a limit of 2GB per upload. Amazon MP3 purchases are also saved to your Cloud Drive as an automatic backup, and aren’t deducted from your storage quota. 

In principal Amazon Cloud Drive is similar to other online backup services, although it lacks the ability to synchronise with a folder on your PC like the popular service from Dropbox.  The service isn’t currently available on Amazon.co.uk, but you can currently use Cloud Drive from the UK using an Amazon.com account.

For comparison, read our Dropbox review and other backup software reviews.

Amazon Cloud Player

Another feature, not available at all in the UK at present, is called Cloud Player. It allows customers to upload their personal music collections to their Cloud Drive, and then stream that music via the internet to any PC or Mac using a web browser. There’s also an Android phone app to access the service, which is, again, only currently available in the US.

Bill Parr, vice president of Movies and Music at Amazon, said: ‘We’re excited to take this leap forward in the digital experience. The launch of Cloud Drive, Cloud Player for Web and Cloud Player for Android eliminates the need for constant software updates as well as the use of thumb drives and cables to move and manage music.’

‘Our customers have told us they don’t want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices,’ Carr said. ‘Now, whether at work, home, or on the go, customers can buy music from Amazon MP3, store it in the cloud and play it anywhere.’

Amazon competing with Google and Apple

Amazon’s service is likely to face competition from Google and Apple, both of which are rumoured to working on similar ‘streaming’ services where users can upload their music. Such services are complicated by the need to agree licensing terms with music labels to allow users to upload their music and stream it, which is why the Cloud Player feature isn’t currently available in the UK. Amazon hasn’t commented on the date of a UK launch.

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