Blue sky thinking

GOOGLE DRIVE
COST: 5GB: free; 25GB: $2.49 a month; 100GB: $4.99 a month; 1TB: $49.99 a month; 16TB: $799.99 a month

PROS: It’s cheap, compared to rivals (the free part is twice the size of Dropbox’s offering). It allows users to create, sync, store and share files across platforms. It also syncs with Google’s other services, including Docs (allowing users to open files through a browser instead of downloading them), Gmail (allowing you to paste files directly into an email) and YouTube (allowing you to upload videos directly from your Drive account).

CONS: Anyone who already has an account may be loath to switch. The ownership of uploaded content has been disputed, with the terms and conditions suggesting Google may be able to use your files without express permission. Others have dismissed this as scaremongering.

APPLE iCLOUD
COST: Free with OS X Lion with up to 5GB; $25 for its iTunes Match service

PROS: Seamless integration with Apple devices. Stores emails, contacts, documents, settings and the last 1,000 images from your Photostream. Purchased music, apps, books and Photostream don’t count against your storage allowance. Automatically syncs. Option to store “ripped” music from your iTunes library in the cloud for $25 a year.

CONS: Won’t back up your photo library, only the last 1,000 pictures you have taken.

AMAZON CLOUDDRIVE
Cost: 5GB: free; 20GB: $20 a year; 50GB: $50 a year; 100GB: $100 a year; 500GB: $500 a year

PROS: Will automatically store music purchased from Amazon in the cloud.

CONS: Sharing files with other users is not supported.

DROPBOX
COST: 2GB: free; $50GB: $9.99 a month or $99 a year; 100GB: $19.99 a month or $199 a year

PROS: Dropbox has a slick interface and excellent syncing across platforms and devices.

CONS: More expensive than its rivals.

MICROSOFT SKYDRIVE
COST: 25GB: free; 45GB: $10 a year; 75GB: $25 a year; 100GB: $50 a year

PROS: Lots of free space. Integration with Office and WindowsPhone. Easy file-sharing.

CONS: Annoying file management means you can only drag and drop files, not folders.

IS FACEBOOK NEXT?
COST: Unknown

PROS: Our photos are already all over Facebook, it makes sense to back up your entire library there.

CONS: Do we really need Facebook to run even more of our lives?