Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cloud Features you didn't know about.

I am not always a fan of countdowns, but here are 9 cloud features you may not know about and could be hugely helpful:
  1. Cloud Favorites.  For Android, and iOS users your favorite browser can keep your favorites together.  When you sign in to the Chrome Browser your favorites are kept in sync.  The same is true of Safari.  An iPad user with a Windows computer, never fear Safari is available for Windows and is an option when you download iTunes. Added Bonus: When you are logged in to two devices on Chrome or Safari you can open tabs that are open on other devices.
  2. Photo Storage: When you turn on PhotoStream on iOS devices it allows you to see and then download to your device photos taken on other devices.  For example if I snap a shot with my iPhone I can see it and edit on my iPad and then share it to Facebook from my computer.  Similar to this is Google+ this app on iOS devices allows you to choose to upload your photos automatically as a backup.  Every photo you take is added to a private folder that allows you to share to Google+.  If you are an Amazon fan their app will automatically back up photos also.
  3. Notes - There are several services that will keep notes in sync.  Apple's Notes does this with iCloud, but also if you enable the feature with other accounts it will let you store notes in a Google account or an Exchange account. Others include Catch notes and Evernote.
  4. Music - Apple has a service for this and will make all of your music available on any device.  The cost is about $30 a year.  Google and Amazon both have free services with varying limits.  Amazon allows you to listen to anything you have purchased from them and upload a limited amount of other music.  Google handles things similarly, but with a much higher limit on what you can upload.
  5. Books - Books have changed from a commodity to a resource.  Formerly you purchased a physical book that belonged to you but now largely your are licensing the rights to access that material.  Services like Amazon's Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and Nook make your books available on a variety of devices.
  6. Movies - There are many services that allow you to stream you movies and Apple is good about allowing you to access iTunes purchases on your devices, but are there others?  Ultraviolet allows you to access movies in several apps including Flixster, and from the VUDU website.  Amazon Instant video allows you to purchase from Amazon and view on a variety of devices as well.
  7. Website updates: With apps like Blogsy, WordPress, Blogger, EduBlogs and EduTecher you can update resources and information on your website from a mobile device or any internet connected computer.
  8. Mail - We don't often think about this anymore, but since most of us are using a web based email system our email is cloud based.  Outlook.com is a major update for Hotmail, Live, and MSN users and allows you to claim a clean @outlook.com mail alias without having to get used to a new inbox.  Gmail has long been cloud based and with the ability to rapidly switch between several accounts also allow you to keep up with more than one inbox.
  9. Audiobooks - ok so I am fudging a little since this is sort of covered by #5 but Audible is a great service with apps on both iOS and Android that allows you to listen to your books on any device directly from the device.  It does download the file to your device so it is best to do the downloading over WiFi but once you do you can earn awards, badges and achievements for how much you listen.  It will even keep different devices in sync and sync with Kindle copies of the text for certain books. Pretty amazing?
So, what cloud based features and services are your favorites? What are the cloud features you can't live without.

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