When you hear the term “cloud computing”, a lot of people think it is something new and has something to do with services or solutions for the enterprise space. It’s not, in fact there are a lot of cloud services out there that’s built for regular consumers.
Not a lot of people are aware that they’ve been using the “cloud” more than a decade ago, although it wasn’t coined as such. Cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing as service via the internet. And what are the first popular cloud services that appeared when we first saw web browsers? Web mails. Take your pick, there’s Hotmail, Rocketmail, Lycos (now Yahoo!), etc. These folks is a simple example of cloud computing.
Now with a lot of people having all sorts of means to access the internet, from desktops to laptops, tablets and smartphones, cloud services are becoming more popular. Another example would be online file storage. Instead of using flash drives, a lot of people are using online storage to move files between machines, whenever and wherever. We got the all-too popular Dropbox, the 25GB SkyDrive, Box.net, Amazon S3 and what have you to store your files and not worry about disks crashing are losing external drives.
Another example of cloud computing available to the regular consumers are productivity web apps. These will replace the need for purchasing and installing applications on your machine. First there’s Google Docs which a lot of people are already taking advantage of. You can create and edit spreadsheets, documents, forms, presentations, etc. Another similar set of web apps is from Microsoft which is attached to their SkyDrive service. Here you can have the all-familiar Office Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Note right from your web browser. No need to install Microsoft Office to work on that Word document of yours, simply upload it to your SkyDrive and you can start editing.
Cloud computing is not just for business and these are just a few samples that should make you aware that the “cloud” has always been there for everyone to make use of.
How connected to the cloud are you? Aside from your e-mail, what other cloud services do you use? I have Dropbox, SkyDrive,