I have never been a big fan of cloud computing, due to the risk of losing ownership of my data. But, I do like the concept of a 'copy' of my data (not the only copy of my data) available on cloud so that I can share it with others or access it from where ever I want. Honestly speaking with 16GB Nexus S, 32GB Samsung Galaxy Tab and a 360GB Ubuntu Dell Mini along with a portable 500GB HDD, I don't have to worry about availability of my data, I carry my it with me, just the way I carry my credit cards with me.
That said, I do want to talk about Ubuntu One and would even go on and recommend it. There is a reason. Before we go there, let me tell you what is this Ubuntu One? Ubuntu One is a suite of personal cloud services that allow users to secure, sync and stream their content across multiple platforms and devices anywhere in the world.
Do you need Ubuntu One?
How many of you use Dropbox? I am sure many of you do use it. Ubuntu One (or U1) is not an alternative to the Dropbox, it is the competitor which may replace Dropbox as the preferred personal cloud services. One of the reasons why I prefer Ubuntu One is its open nature as compared to Dropbox.
Roberta Nilerud of Canonical told me, "Ubuntu One is not an open source project in its own right - though it does contribute huge amounts of open source code to the FOSS community as all of it's client side software has been released as open source. We aim to be as open and transparent as possible when we can for example with our App Developer Program."
One of the components of the U1 suite that I like very much (and thus ended up recommending it) is Ubuntu One Files, an app for Android. U1F allows you to share your files across your Android devices.
When asked about the comparison between U1 and DropBox, a spokesperson told us, "Our main USP compared to Dropbox is that Ubuntu One in general has a broader service offer than just file sync, U1 gives users the freedom to access and enjoy their content from anywhere in the world."
What gives U1 an edge over Dropbox is that "we have U1 Music streaming apps for Android and iPhone, both have offline mode where you cache music on the device so you can listen to your music without a connection," told the spokesperson.
The team is working on an upgrade to the current Music streaming app for iPhone which will bring with extra functionality and a slick new UI to iPhone users.
U1 beats Dropbox in another area, "When compared directly to Dropbox's Android app, our files app has smarter features such as auto-retries, wi-fi only and automatic photo upload which the Android Dropbox app does not have."
U1 offers 2GB of storage for free of cost. But if you need more capacity you can buy subscriptions in 20GB packs and add as many as they want. I would prefer U1 from price point of view as Dropbox offers two packages 50GB and 100 GB for $9.99 pm and $19.99 pm. U1 offers packs of 20GB for $2.99 which makes it a bit cheaper than Dropbox and you can add more packs beyond 100GB.
Security is one of the concerns which has been haunting Dropbox. Recently a code update allowed open access to Dropbox accounts without needing a password.
So, how secure is U1? "We use secure connections with Ubuntu One servers on all our clients [as well as between those of our servers deployed on the public cloud and our datacenter], and users are authenticated using a secure, industry-standard mechanism that protects their accounts in case they lose their devices," told a spokesperson.
U1 is available on all major platforms including Ubuntu, GNU/Linux and in Windows beta, so you can seamlessly access your data from any of these machines to Android and iOS devices.
Looking at the increasing problems at Dropbox and all the features that U1 offers, I think Canonical now has a perfect solution to attract Dropbox users.
I consider U1 to be the best product of its class. What do you think? Will you switch from Dropbox or other services to U1?