I started to write this as a reply to Jay in our Copy Review post and I decided to make it into a post so everybody can read. This is Jay question:
I don’t understand Copy too well. I have not used any other Cloud storage application. I need help in understanding this: I don’t understand why all my files go to an internal folder. I’m trying to get rid of many of my files and to free up space. If it just goes to another folder in my comp, whats the use of an online storage? Please correct me if I’m wrong. TY!
Well, one of the main reasons you would like to use a Cloud Storage service is for backup outside your house. Anything you place on that folder (or with copy if you place shortcuts it will work too) will be uploaded to Copy servers, privately for your only access. This means, if…your hard drive breaks, you wont loose all your pictures or valuable files. Also its very useful to sync information between devices, you can access the files stored on your computer from your smartphone for example.
I personally use Copy for 2 main things:
1) Off-site backups of My Documents. This means, I placed a shortcut of the “My Documents” folder on my Copy folder and I know that everything is almost instantly synced to the Copy Servers. This is my second level of backup, as my first level is a copy to another hard drive on my PC. I know that in case my house sets on fire, I will be able to recover my data.
2) I also use Copy to share files with family and friends, for example instead of sending a lot of pics over email, I just share the folder with the pics through Copy and send the link over email. They will be able to access the content and if they want sync it with their own copy folder in their computers they could.
Imagine if you need to share a folder of a project for school/university/work with other people, you just place the files on that folder and after your friends install copy too and accept the folder share you all will be able to have automatic synchronization of the files anyone of you guys place in that folder.
Everyday, more and more cloud storage services are being launched. For example, BitCasa went live this year and they offer something really interesting. After installing their software you get another drive icon on “Computer” (Windows). everything you place on that folder will be saved (uploaded) to BitCasa servers. If you decide to delete the local copy of those files you can, but I wouldn’t suggest to have your only copy of files on a virtual drive online (just in case something goes bad you know), of course unless they are not important files and you are willing to loose them. This would be also a valid method to store unlimited amount of information if you don’t have a big hard drive. Also remember if you loose internet connection, then you wont be able to access them.
With BitCasa there are good things and bad, they have free accounts that would include 10 GB of storage, or if you pay USD 10 a month you get unlimited storage for all your things (You can get a 1 month unlimited storage account for free using this link). It uses client side encryption so nobody can ever see what you store there, not even them. The downside is that the sharing is not working like Copy and Dropbox yet, when you share a folder with another friend the other party has too options:
a) He will able to download the content of the folder you share on their computers or devices.
b) If he uses BitCasa he will be able to add that folder to their own BitCasa drive. The bad part is that this folder wont get automatically updated when you add more files to it, you need to re-share the folder with your friend and that is when the things start to get messy, duplicates and so… The other party will always have access to the files you shared with them (when you sent them the link), this is called snapshot.
You can check more about BitCasa on the review I wrote some months ago. They are getting better, but they still need to improve.
On the meantime, depending on how much information and what you need maybe Copy is good for you, they went live recently but their service works very well. The downsides are that is doesn’t has client side encryption, (the info is encrypted on the server side though). But if you need to pay, its accessible around USD 10 for 250 GB of storage. Because they want to promote their service, you can invite all your friends by sending them your own Copy link, if they register, confirm their emails and install the sync client on their computers you will be credited with 5 GB of additional storage for your own account. This is great, and there is no limit (for now) to what amount of storage you can win, I already got more than 1100 GB! 🙂 Sweet!
You can start with a 20 GB free account by registering and follow the steps through this link. And if you want to read a bit more about how I think the best service should be, check this post it will help you as a guide on what to look for.
I hope this post answers your doubts, if it doesn’t don’t hesitate to comment below. Thanks!