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It's been a big week for cloud storage. First Microsoft updated SkyDrive. Then Google, after years of speculation, parted the clouds to reveal Google Drive, even if it remained out of reach to some mere mortals using Macs.

All this activity got me thinking: could the three play together nicely?

It turns out they can … a bit.

DropBox is the incumbent file sharing app on your correspondent's Mac. So I downloaded and installed SkyDrive and Google Drive to that machine and instructed both to use the DropBox folder as the location in which to store files. Both did so without any problem, but installed sub-folders rather than allowing me to synch to three clouds from one folder. DropBox synched their contents without complaint, the result being that several years worth of Google docs appeared in DropBox.

Switching to Windows, where DropBox was again the incumbent, proved a little trickier. SkyDrive happily installed a sub-folder inside DropBox's designated directory but Google Drive would not let its “synch me” folder reside within Dropbox's demesne.

Next stop: my iPhone, where the DropBox app had no trouble showing files from the SkyDrive and Google Drive subfolders.

I then tried to trick the three apps into synching one another by creating shortcuts to their respective folders inside one another, in Windows. The shortcut files synched, which was nice, but none of the apps was fooled. This meant the SkyDrive app on Windows and iPhone showed only the token files we popped in there for test purposes rather than recognising the shortcuts.

I suspect that not many months will pass before El Reg has the chance to write about some kind of aggregator and/or virtualiser that turns the three services – and maybe even SugarSync and iCloud – into one big happy distributed drive in the sky.

Could we even hope for cross-platform virtual cloud RAID?

Multi-platform services like FriendFeed and Posterous showed there was demand for this kind of thing with social media. Might cloud storage be next?

For today the fact that DropBox plays nicely with others means there's a nice little extra bit of protection available for those with unusual cloud storage needs. But if you want the kind of redundant storage this tri-cloud experiment aimed for, there are almost certainly better ways to get it.

If you can get these cloud storage apps working nicely, please let us know. ®

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