By Tracey Dowdy
One of my favorite quotes from Anchorman is the line, “Boy, that escalated quickly.” That’s kind of how I feel about Amazon’s latest move in the cloud storage arena.
Last year they announced free, unlimited photo storage on Cloud Drive for members of Amazon Prime. That was a significant boost for Prime when coupled with membership perks like free two day shipping and unlimited streaming video. Yesterday, with their announcement of Unlimited Photos or Unlimited Everything for members and non-members alike, they’ve changed the landscape of cloud storage again.
Amazon certainly isn’t the first to offer cloud storage but they are the first to offer it to anyone, regardless of membership. Unlimited photo storage will still be free for Prime members, but for everyone else the service is offered at $11.99 for photos and $59.99 for all other media – video, documents, music – per year and when compared to other cloud storage providers, there’s a significant price difference.
Amazon has recognized one very important fact: the average consumer has accumulated a significant amount of media over the years from photos and video to documents, all scattered across multiple devices, and most of us really have no idea how much storage we need.
“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up…With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space–they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place.” Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive
To make the deal even sweeter and lure potential users from other cloud services, Amazon is offering a free three month trial. They’re banking on both the sweetness of the deal and the fact that frankly, most of us are not going shift again in three months once we’ve taken the time and trouble to upload in the first place. Plus, once you’ve chosen to store everything on Cloud Drive, how much more likely are you to choose Prime membership to take advantage of that free, two day shipping? And since you’re already buying books, why wouldn’t you just buy your music…and your movies…and your groceries…
But before you jump from DropBox or iCloud, stop and consider what you need. A terabyte is a lot of storage and for most of us, more than sufficient. Plus, if you’ve already invested time and money uploading to other cloud services, moving everything over is daunting and may not be worth it. On the other hand, if you’ve been debating what to do and just need to get everything tucked away to sort through and manage at some point in the future, it’s hard to argue with Amazon’s price point. And as several commentators have pointed out, at the very least Amazon’s announcement may force other cloud storage providers to examine their prices and services in order to stay competitive.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.