Everything you need to know about Ubuntu One

For those that don’t know, Ubuntu One (U1 for short) is a cloud sync tool like Dropbox, Sugarsync or Google Drive. In this post I will be going into details about all the things you can do with U1 and why it’s my cloud service of choice amongst all the others. Note: this isn’t a how to article, it is merely an informative article. If you aren’t sure how to do any of the features listed below, then just add a comment and I will be happy to give more advice.

So here is my list and reasons why U1 is the best of the bunch…

Storage Space & Price
When you register for a free Dropbox account you get 2GB of free storage, but with Google Drive, SugarSync and U1 you get a lot more – 5GB. By today’s standards, 2GB isn’t a great deal of space at all and most users would be able to fill 2GB quite quickly. Dropbox do have a referral scheme were you get free storage for referring friends but it can be very difficult to refer enough friends to get a decent amount of storage.

If you want more storage, then all cloud services offer extra storage at a cost. The great thing about U1 is that their storage is split into 20GB chunks. Unlike others, like Dropbox were it goes from 2GB, straight to 50GB for $99 per year. A 20GB bundle from U1 is only $29.99 per year. So if you got two 20GB bundles, you have 45GB of total storage for nearly half the price of Dropbox. The U1 storage space is also unlimited so you can just keep adding more and more 20GB bundles to your account in order to have as much storage as is needed.

Many could storage services have one particular folder that is synced to the cloud and all your data has to go into this folder. For example, with Dropbox you have your Dropbox folder and only items in your Dropbox folder will be synced to the cloud. In U1 you can sync any folder on your computer, but if you like the simplicity of a single folder then there is also an ‘Ubuntu One’ folder that you can use. This is the case for both Ubuntu & Windows, so I can sync C:UsersKevDocuments on my Windows machine (if I had one) to /home/kev/Documents on my Ubuntu devices. This just isn’t possible to do on many other cloud storage services.

Music Streaming
This is a unique feature to U1 (as far as I know) whereby for a small extra charge ($39.99 per year), you can sync all of the music within your U1 account to a mobile device or on the web interface. So, if you’re out and about and you want access to your music library, no problem…or, if you’re on a friends computer and want to listen to some music together, again, no problem.

So now you’re probably thinking “What! So if I want to stream music and have more than 5GB of storage it’s going to cost me $69.98 a year…what a rip!”. Well, no that isn’t the case. If you buy the music streaming service for $39.99 you automatically get an extra 20GB bundle free with it that you can use to store anything, not just music. So, 25GB of online storage and music streaming costs just $39.99 per year (you can also try the service for 30 days for free)! For me, this is the biggest selling point as I use the web interface all the time to stream music when in work.

Mobile Apps
As with most cloud syncing tools, there are mobile apps for iOS and Android. As I mentioned before, you can stream your music (if you have the music service) but you can also access all of your other pictures, documents and files simply. You can edit them and U1 will automatically detect the changes and upload the changes. A really cool feature that I have found is that if you take a photograph on your phone, then it is automatically uploaded to the cloud so that you have the pictures on all of your devices. This can also be turned off. I don’t know if this is the case on iOS as I have an Android, but I imagine this would be the same.

Pick What You Sync
With U1 you can pick which folders are synced to each device. So, if you have a folder that is for work, you don’t want it synced to your personal computer but do want it treating as an online backup then you can easily pick which folders are synced.

Can Be Used As A Backup
One of the things I like about U1 is that if something is deleted by accident on one computer, this deletion is synced to other devices, but, when the deletion occurs on other machines, it simply places the deleted items into your recycle bin. So turn on your computer, wait for it to sync up, head over to your recycle bin and restore the file, job done! :)

And Finally…
All the normal stuff…sharing folders, creating public links to files to share with others so they can download a file and things like secure encryption are all included by default. These are the ‘normal’ features that all good cloud syncing tools should be able to do.

What’s Missing?
A big thing that is missing that I would like to see included in a future release is picture viewing. In Dropbox, you can see all of your images as an album or slide show. This is a great feature that I think is lacking on U1. This is a small price to pay for an excellent service though, besides, U1 is constantly under development so I wouldn’t be surprised if this comes in a future release.

If you want an excellent cloud storage service, that gives you a good amount of storage for free, is cheap if you want more storage and has some brilliant unique features, then why not give Ubuntu One a test drive. I would highly recommend this service to anyone. If you want to find out more about Ubuntu One then head over to their website by clicking on here.

Do you use Ubuntu One? Dropbox? Or and other cloud service? Then why not tell us what you use and why in the comments section.

Everything you need to know about Ubuntu One
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