One of the most emotionally painful stories to here for a family is to hear a recollection of fond memories only to here the photos that captured them for eternity have been lost. For many families of previous generations this was common to hear of books of printed photos lost in house fires, due to water damage, or just accidentally thrown away. The digital age changed that for everyone.

For current generations, however, you hear very similar stories, but with new age reasons such hard drives crashes, corrupted or damaged storage, or a dead iPod. With digital photography cutting the costs to take pictures, current day losses are much greater because we have many more photos than anyone could have afforded to shoot in the past. The evolution of the digital age has once again changed things for us.

Cloud service providers have leveraged the falling costs of storage and processing power to build ever growing stable computing environments. Giants such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple are creating offerings for the every day consumer wanting a low cost solution to home computing dilemmas. So for the hundreds of music files, the hundreds of home videos, and the thousands of photos cloud solutions are there to not only store and organize your digital library, but also to lessen the likelihood you may lose your prized possessions.

Recently, we have taken a closer look at Google’s offering Picasa. Picasa is a two piece offering – the client software you can download offers an efficient and intuitive way to manage photos on your PC while the cloud based storage provides a stable and trustworthy component to backing up your photos and sharing them with friends and family in easy to manage photo albums. For 25 cents per gigabyte of storage you can keep photos in the cloud as a secondary copy and a real sense of security.

The Picasa software also gives you an easy to navigate interface to backup photos to DVDs or other storage devices. The help guides online are very useful and worth the read. With this much to lose it is always best to prepare yourself by understanding fully what the different items mean so there is fewer chance for mistakes. For instance, if you do plan to use the cloud storage of your photos as your backup, make sure the setting for syncing them to the web are to sync the full file. By default the settings are set to optimize your storage and for viewing online. So a lower resolution copy would be uploaded in this instance. If you were to lose your original files due to a hard drive failure, for example, you would only have the inferior quality replicas.

You can modify these settings very easily and set them as your new default to upload the entire file for safe keeping. With storage this cheap it is probably the best way to go. If you think you are going to make regular copies to DVDs you may find yourself amongst the many with a tragic story of how you always meant to, but didn’t before that unfortunate day the hard drive decided to retire.

Leverage the cloud for peace of mind and security in keeping all of those fond memories for years to come.

UPDATE October 21, 2013: Amazon has made significant improvements to their management of photos to compete with Google's offering. Likewise Google has released Google Music to compete with Amazon's once superior cloud music offering. Read more here on Amazon Cloud Music.