Why I’m not moving to Microsoft’s SkyDrive after all

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On a recent episode of CrowdGadgets, I let it slip that I might migrate all of my files from SugarSync to Microsoft’s SkyDrive. As some of you may know, I’ve been a long-time proponent of SugarSync, and I find it to be light years ahead of competing cloud storage services like Dropbox. But since I was able to get 25GB of free storage from Microsoft when it was still offering that, and with the news that SkyDrive was making its way to Android, I was seriously reconsidering.

After all, SugarSync only offers 5GB for free (although I have 10.5GB that I’ve earned through referrals). That’s nothing compared to SkyDrive’s 25GB. However, SkyDrive also acts like Dropbox in that it only syncs one folder on your computer, and I hate that; SugarSync can handle any folder you throw at it.

But an Android app that offers 25GB of free storage for life, synced effortlessly to my computer, just might have been enough to get me to change my mind – and my file-saving habits. However, I’ve decided that’s not going to happen anymore.

Why not?

Because SkyDrive has some of the toughest content restrictions among all cloud storage providers. According to SkyDrive’s code of conduct, users are forbidden from uploading any content that falls under very ambiguous terms, including “partial human nudity or nudity in nonhuman forms such as cartoons, fantasy art, or manga.” That’s right – Microsoft is explicitly forbidding certain kinds of art. And also, since Bugs Bunny is naked, does that mean I can’t upload his image to SkyDrive?

SkyDrive also forbids “vulgarity,” “obscenity,” and “gratuitous violence” without clearly defining what these mean. Without clear definitions, lots of songs that are playing on the radio today could be classified as obscene or vulgar, and one of my favorite TV shows – The Walking Dead –  might be classified as overly violent. If I have legal copies of such material that I want to back up using SkyDrive, my account might be suspended.

What’s even worse is that these policies affect content you upload that’s private – not just publicly shared files.

And the icing on the cake is that your SkyDrive account is connected to your Microsoft account, which grants you access to Outlook, Office software, Windows Phone, Xbox 360, and even Windows 8 – as you probably know by now, SkyDrive is deeply integrated into Windows 8, and it’s even the default file saving location instead of your hard drive. What happens if Microsoft finds you in violation of their very vague content policy, and cuts off access to your account?

To compare SkyDrive with some other popular cloud storage services: Box, Dropbox, and SugarSync do not have any content restrictions in place, other than to simply state that you shouldn’t break your local laws when uploading files. Google is a little more restrictive, but basically says that as long as you keep your files private, it too does not care what you upload to Drive.

Microsoft is the most restrictive by far, and I don’t want to risk not being able to log in to my new Windows 8 PC, just because Microsoft didn’t like what I probably automatically uploaded without even thinking twice. No, thank you.

SugarSync, I’m here to stay.


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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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