Amazon Cloud Drive offers free 5 GB online storage

There is a new player in the online backup marketplace and it is Amazon.com: you can now have 5 GB of online storage free of charge, to store files of any kind, including music, videos, pictures, or other types of documents!

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It’s very easy to start using it: all you need to do is log in to your existing Amazon.com account (who does not have one yet?) and click on the Upload files button to begin uploading your files to the storage. Or, click on the Cloud Drive button to see the files and folders that are already there. Right, all you need is a web browser and an Amazon.com account, and you are good to go.

Before you jump in, though, take time to actually read the Terms and Conditions for the Cloud Drive service displayed when you first attempt to upload files. There are a few portions of them worth considering (and remembering!). Such as:

5.3.Security. We do not guarantee that Your Files will not be subject 
to misappropriation, loss or damage and we will not be liable if they 
are. You're responsible for maintaining appropriate security, 
protection and backup of Your Files.

That is, don’t assume the files you put in the Cloud Drive will be absolutely safe. Always have a backup of your important files elsewhere, to be able to restore them in case of a problem with the Cloud Drive service. Another interesting paragraph from the Terms and Conditions:

5.2.Our Right to Access Your Files. You give us the right to access, retain, use and 
disclose your account information and Your Files...

This tells us that the files you upload to Cloud Drive are NOT encrypted with a private key that only you have access to: Amazon can have a look into your files if they decide they want to. Keep that in mind, and if a file has a secret you don’t want anyone else to see, do NOT upload it to Cloud Drive, or encrypt the file with strong encryption before uploading it.

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Will Amazon Cloud Front create a strong competition to other online backup solutions such as Dropbox, Mozy, or CrashPlan? Not yet. Not until Amazon adds some sort of automatic file synchronization functionality, like these services offer. Still, if you don’t mind handling the backups manually, and have the discipline to do it regularly, Amazon Cloud Drive is certainly a service to consider.

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