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Amazon fluffs up its cloud services for consumers

The e-commerce company unveils two new Amazon Cloud Drive plans to give you remote storage for your photos and files.

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Amazon is now offering Unlimited Photos and Unlimited Everything plans. Amazon

Amazon is bolstering its cloud-storage services to consumers, on Thursday rolling out two new unlimited packages that let users stow away either just photos or every kind of file.

The Unlimited Photos plan costs $12 a year, and includes an additional 5 gigabytes of storage for videos or other files. The Unlimited Everything plan costs $60 a year and lets customers store as many photos, videos, files, documents, movies and music as they want. Both plans, offered through the Amazon Cloud Drive application, come with free three-month trials.

Amazon already offers the Unlimited Photos plan to Fire tablet and phone owners as well as Prime customers, who pay $99 a year for unlimited two-day shipping and other perks.

The e-commerce giant is a major player in cloud services for businesses, thanks to its Amazon Web Services division. The unit rents out its data centers' storage, processing power and other tools to companies that don't invest in their own servers. Amazon now appears to be tapping into the huge computing and storage power of its data centers to provide more services for consumers. That move puts it in more direct competition with Apple, Google, Dropbox, Microsoft and many others in offering consumer cloud services. Google in June added unlimited storage to its subscription Drive for Work service, and later followed up with unlimited free storage to its education apps suite. Also, Microsoft in October moved to unlimited cloud storage for its Office 365 subscription customers.

While some other competitors have caps on how much storage can be used or how big certain files can be, Amazon pointed out that customers won't have to count or guess how much storage they'll need across their different devices. Still, those caps keep increasing, so more offerings that come close to or match Amazon's new cloud services may be coming soon.