Amazon is working to make its Cloud Drive service more competitive in the crowded online storage market. After recently bundling free, unlimited photo storage on Cloud Drive for Amazon Prime customers, today the company is going after developers with a new Cloud Drive API. The API will allow third-party developers to integrate Cloud Drive into their own applications, so they can focus more on their app’s feature set rather than the complexities involved with storage.
Developers, of course, have been using Amazon Web Services for some time, but the Cloud Drive API is focused on building similar, more consumer-facing technology into applications. For instance, a photo-editing app could allow users to browse and edit photos they have stored on Amazon Cloud Drive.
Amazon says developers who use the Cloud Drive API won’t have to worry about things like various screen resolutions, metadata management, indexing, search or sync functionality; it will be included after the API’s integration. Cloud Drive is also available within other developer tools, including Filepicker and Temboo, which makes it easier on those working with a range of cloud services.
At launch, a number of mobile applications have integrated Cloud Drive’s API, including: OfficeSuite, Perfectly Clear, FreePrints, Photo Gifts by MailPix, ScanCafe, FileThis, CloudHQ, File Commander, Jumptuit, Secrata, and Wappwolf. These are now featured in an online Cloud Drive App Gallery here.
As you may be able to tell by the early lineup, these apps are focused on working with an end user’s file or photos, but the actual hosting of those files is not the app’s key value proposition. Some apps are offering photos gifts or prints, for example, while FileThis (a personal favorite) is archiving documents pulled from websites, like bank statements or credit card bills. With Cloud Drive API, users of these apps can upload, download, organize and manipulate or edit their own data stored in Amazon’s cloud.
Apps can access consumers’ Cloud Drive storage directly and the content saved there, and they use it to save things like game settings, preferences, and other application state data.
For developers, providing users access to files stored in the cloud expands the number of files that can be presented without the limitations of the mobile device’s finite storage space. It also means that files can be made available to customers on any device they choose to use without the need for developers to set and manage their own servers, storage or load balancers, Amazon notes.
The Cloud Drive API is REST-based and built on AWS, and takes advantage of the “Login with Amazon” protocol to keep communications between the end user and Amazon, and the app and Amazon, secured.
As noted earlier this week, cloud computing is becoming something of a “race to zero” – meaning, cloud storage companies keep cutting prices and increasing storage limits as competition heats up. Amazon is one of the companies driving that trend, having cut storage prices repeatedly over the years. Now it’s working to make access to its storage service easier for developers to take advantage of, allowing them to speed their time to market.