Do you use the Cloud to stream media, or just for storage?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: July 22, 2011

We’ve talked about the evolution of the cloud in the past, and what the service means for the consumer in the future. We kicked around ideas about how the cloud will be used, and how important it will be to the average user. While there are some of you out there who think the cloud will play an important role, just as many still plan on saving all of their stuff right on their phone, thanks to all that space made available to them on their physical memory. For some, there’s just no point to the cloud. But obviously companies see the cloud as a very important step in the mobile market, as even Apple has pushed forward with the cloud pretty heavily, and they’re a company that’s heavily focused on media consumption. But are people really using the cloud to stream services, rather than just listen/watch their media right from their phone?

Accessible memory for the consumer is still a point on the specifications list that people look for when they’re getting ready to buy a new phone. Whether it has enough space for them and all of their media will usually make or break a purchase. And with today’s market, having easy access to all the music you want, a wide assortment of movies, and other pieces of media make having that memory on your device all the more important. That is, of course, unless you’re someone who would rather store those things to the cloud, and leave your phone’s memory wide open.

Apple’s iCloud is all about storage. It’s designed to make it easier for you to stream your pictures and share your other media to other devices, primarily manufactured from Apple. Apple’s designed the system to make it so that if you’ve got another iDevice, it’s easy to access those pictures and video without having to find that original device. It’s a great idea, and it’s the same principles behind the usage of the cloud that we’ve seen from many other companies. It’s the most basic way to use the cloud, and the most easily accessible.

But Amazon’s Cloud Player is all about storage and streaming of music. If you’ve got enough space reserved in the cloud, then it’s perfectly possible for you to put all of your music up there, and then stream it down to your device whenever you like. In essence, for anyone who’s filled up their device’s memory with all of their favorite tunes, it’s a quick and easy way to make sure that space on your handset gets freed up. The drawback is the most obvious one, though: streaming. For anyone who’s used a streaming service in an area that’s not heavily covered by their network’s service, you know it may not be the most pleasurable of experiences. Listening to music is one thing, but listening to music with skips and jumps isn’t all that enjoyable.

And that may be the one reason that people are still more focused on storing their music on their device, especially when it comes to music they want to listen to. I can see consumers storing all of their music in the cloud as a back-up, just in case something happens to their device, or their computer. Having it up in the cloud means that it’s safe, relatively. But I’m not surprised that streaming music from that ethereal location isn’t the most talked-about feature of the cloud.

I’ve been using the cloud for quite some time now. It’s a service that I’ve used from plenty of different companies, all offering different amounts of storage for different amounts of money. I use it to store pretty much everything that I have, from photos to videos to music. However, while I’ve tried to stream music here and there, I’m not one to actually use the streaming service. I hate having any skips and jumps or loading times when I’m listening to music, so having it on my phone directly makes sure that doesn’t happen. Sure, my phone’s memory is filled all the time, but that doesn’t bother me much at all – I can always delete an app or two here and there when I need to, as the situation calls for.

How do you use the cloud, if at all? Are you someone who just uses it to store your media, or are you more dependent upon it now for streaming? And if you’re someone who hasn’t started using the cloud yet, why haven’t you? Let me know in the comments below.