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Free Cloud-based Services

FREE Cloud & Internet-based Computing Services

Cloud-based services range from simple data storage and communication tools (e.g. web-based e-mail or short message broadcasts) to complex sets of services such as project management and collaboration. Most of the free services have pro versions available at a cost, however I have found the free versions adequate for my usage. Organisations and individuals can sign up for these services. While the benefits of free cloud-based services are very enticing, they may lack the degree of security and privacy that is desirable for storage of some data.

Google AppsThis is a well-known cloud-based application. The free version of Google Apps includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Sites, and Google Docs. Google Calendar is a shared online calendar that lets you schedule and share appointments. Google Docs lets you create documents, spreadsheets, drawings, and presentations, and Google Sites lets you build websites and wikis.

Gmail (google)—free web-based email. Gmail allows up to 20GB attachments.

Hotmail (Microsoft) also provides web-based email. Hotmail allows up to 10GB attachments. I have used this but changed to gmail.

LastPassLastPass is a web application that securely stores your various Internet passwords and can automatically enter them on website logon forms. I tend to only save passwords that aren’t ‘important.’ 

Dropbox – Stores your files, anywhere, anytime (even when offline). Any file you save to Dropbox also instantly saves to your computers, phones, and the secure Dropbox website.  Provides 2GB of Dropbox for free, with subscriptions up to 100GB available. There are several ways to increase your free storage -  I have 35GB available now and have only used 20% of it, mostly for storage and sharing of photos but I also use if to share files with various individuals and groups. Bandwidth limits can be set manually so Dropbox won't overload your connection.

Evernote – this is my current favourite. With Evernote, all of your notes, web clips, files and images are made available on every device and computer you use. I use it for everything: TO DO lists, planning trips, research notes, saving video clips & images, writing…..It also has cross-platform compatibility so PC and Mac users can install it. Use it with Skitch - Skitch shows an image or screenshot and allows you to manipulate it in a variety of ways: resize, rotate, annotate, etc. It’s so easy and it’s fun. It’s not at the level of Photoshop but it is highly functional on a day-to-day basis.

OneNoteI haven’t used OneNote myself because it’s only available for Microsoft (as far as I knowI but people rave about it – the following information is from Wikipedia: Microsoft OneNote is a computer program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It can gather users' notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries and share them with other users of Microsoft OneNote over the Internet. 

NB – Compare Evernote & OneNote:

icloudicloud offers a free online computer with a virtual desktop. The desktop gives you online storage and a variety of utility applications, including a word processor, calendar, web browser, and an application development environment.

DoodleThis scheduler takes the hassle out of planning meetings. You create a schedule showing possible meeting dates and times, insert email addresses of people you want to invite to the meeting, and Doodle will let you know when they have responded and show you the preferred dates and times for the meeting.

SkypeIt was tempting to leave Skype off the list because so many people use it already but it is a wonderful tool for schools to use to aid global connectedness so I had to include it. You can make internet calls for free, call friends and family on any phone with Pay As You Go and Pay Monthly subscriptions.

YouTube EDUIs there anyone who hasn’t watched a YouTube video? Unlikely. However, you may not have accessed YouTube EDU yet – it’s a fantastic resource for teachers that you have to check out.

Please add your favourites to the list along with a brief explanation of its use and a link to the site.

Sources: ITPro, own explorations, Wikipedia, others’ recommendations


  • Pete Murray

    Hi, in late July this year Microsoft launched Office 365 for Education. The A2 plan (A2 is the same as the enterprise  plan E2) is for academic institutions that are ready to take advantage of the cloud. Office 365 offers free email 25gb storage per user , instant messaging, group video and voice chat, and online document viewing and editing.

    It is built on their proven enterprise class platform to include Exchange online, Lync online, Sharepoint intranet and extranet online and Office Webapps all free to academic institutions  Cool