“Cloud Computing” is the newest buzz word in the world of the internet… and an integral part of Web 2.0. Here’s how they work together:
Computers like your laptop, while convenient, still can’t be in all places at once and can cause major problems when lost, stolen or just crashed. If you’ve ever used a web browser like Safari or Firefox to check your email, you’re already using “Cloud Computing”…. it’s just a place to keep stuff… in the cloud! Imagine having all of your computer files, settings, pictures, music, EVERYTHING… stored in a place you can access 24/7 anywhere there is a computer with an internet connection (which is increasingly just sitting in your pocket all of the time). If you use gmail, MobileMe,YahooMail or even AOL, you’re already taking advantage of this… but that’s just the beginning….
The future contains much more use of computers in the “cloud”. Besides email, you can already keep your notebook up there with Evernote, your videos up there withYouTube, your documents up there with Google Docs, your photos up there with Flickror MobileMe, your desktop up there with SugarSync or perhaps most importantly, you can backup your files automatically to Mozy or CrashPlan. Man, you can EVEN keep your snail mail up in the cloud with EarthClass Mail! All of these web based services are examples of Web 2.0 and a telltale sign of that is their use of Cloud Computing.
It’s pretty amazing the abilities we have to be mobile in today’s day and age. Enjoy it, folks, you’re living in a new age!
PS: Steven Fry, a great comedian and gadget geek wrote a great article recently on this same topic. That article inspired this one, so check it out.
UPDATE 6/13/09: I just read an article at the NY Times about the data centers that are required to keep our lives in the cloud. It’s a fascinating read if you’re interested!