A very common term thrown around today is the “cloud.” Many people consider the Cloud to simply be a repository for backing up data or even a means of making all your devices “have the same stuff.” It is much more than that. The software uses an implementation of syncing to ensure data isn’t cloned, but properly stored, applied, and replicated in its proper locations. Looking further into this idea, it is good to examine two popular Cloud services, Google Play and Apple’s iCloud.
At first, both services offer a lot of advantages and tools that can be utilized. When reviewing the basics, Google and Apple both offer a system for syncing contacts and calendars across their relevant Android and iOS devices. A big advantage provided by Google in this situation is Google’s setup allows for these two synchronizations to be used on both Android and iOS, along with the ability to edit and view this data from a Gmail login anywhere in the world. This allows for a huge advantage, as data can not only be edited anywhere, but also dynamically changed with only seconds in between each variable. While Apple offers a similar service, the contacts and Calendar can only be changed on an Apple device, whether it be iOS or Mac. Offering a few more options in the contact category, such as pairing a Facebook or Twitter account ,and the ability to edit this data on a native application on each Mac, the data cannot be viewed unless on one of these devices, which provides little versatility.
Another popular use of the cloud by these two services is the capability of music synchronization. When looking at how each of these services goes about music there is a different to style with the same overall goal. The software that really helped turned Apple around at the beginning of the 21st century was iTunes with its easy ability to manage music and movies for a mobile media platform. Today, Apple centers their products around it and allows iTunes to manage all music and movie data, providing a large amount of customization to each song, such as length, labeling and format conversion. With the iTunes store and the new iTunes match, Apple provides an unfathomable amount of music and movies to be downloaded, rented, and even backed up. In regards to the iTunes store, there is no limit to the amount that can be downloaded or bought, but iTunes Match, the service used to backup ones music, comes at a price of $24.99 a year with a song limit of 25,000 songs.
In a different approach, Google Play Music, a free Google service, allows syncing of up to 20,000 songs for free into their cloud and can be seen by any device with Google Play Music installed. Additionally, one can access the music from any web browser, allowing for the music to not only be listened to anywhere but also downloaded from any location. Though it provides easy access, the music management is extremely limited; only syncing music from one folder on the computer and providing very few sorting details once online.
One final and important used feature in the cloud services arena is the backup of application data. Apple and Google both allow the use of using their cloud services to backup application data, whether it be the whole app or just what the developer has chosen. For Apple, there is a definite advantage that the backup happens not only in the iCloud but also on the machine that the device has used in order to sync with iTunes. Google’s default syncing utility simply syncs the application in the cloud and can be accessed from a web browser, but not natively.
While the aforementioned are the commonly used services of these cloud services, there are still others that are worth mentioning. Apple seems to be slightly ahead in the game of syncing bookmarks across devices, as it is default implemented into the Safari browser; While Google only allows it through the use of the Google Chrome mobile distribution, which is still in beta, but will eventually replace the default Android browser. In terms of photo synchronization and backup, Apple has the upper hand with syncing photos across devices as Google doesn’t implement a feature at this time. While Google and Apple both provide systems for “objectives,” Apple’s “reminders” are synced across only iOS devices and Google “tasks” can only be accessed from ones Gmail account. While there are more services implemented by both cloud services, many of these differences come down to the operating system itself, which is for a different discussion.
Submitted By: Tom Cosmos
“Life is a progress, and not a station.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson