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Google, Microsoft, Dropbox: Whose cloud is the brightest?

Real clouds in California.

Microsoft is out with a new name for an old product. It’s now calling its cloud storage service OneDrive. The British broadcaster Sky objected to the old name, SkyDrive. It’s one of many cloud services out there with similar names. 

Besides OneDrive, there’s Google Drive. There’s a service called Box and one called Dropbox. And they all work pretty much the same way, copying your files and photos to far away servers, and letting you access them on any computer, phone or tablet.

So, how do you choose? 

"The first place to look is who you get your email service from," says Frank Gillett, an analyst at Forrester Research. Apple, Google and Microsoft all offer cloud storage along with an email account. But they’re trying to catch a startup. 

"Dropbox is the big name in this space," Gillett says, "and that’s because they got going so early and created such a drop dead simple, easy to use service." 

Google and Microsoft offer more free storage than Dropbox. Business models matter, too. Dropbox just wants to sell you storage. Google and Microsoft want to hook you into their worlds.

"Once they get you to jump into the storage piece, they really want you to be using lots of the other services," says Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD Group. 

He says your best bet is to use a few of these services. Why choose at all?

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