So far in 2011, we have seen several big players in the tech industry move towards cloud computing. Amazon’s CloudPlayer allows users to store their music files and purchases in the cloud, giving them easy access to their music from any location through any device. Apple’s iCloud stores user iPhone and iPad apps, music, and other content in the cloud, allowing synchronization across all of their devices a cinch. Google has been ahead of the cloud computing game for years since launching Gmail and Google Apps. But what exactly is cloud computing? Why has it become so popular? And what does this mean for the future of technology?
The term “cloud computing” can been defined, scoped and explained a hundred different ways, but the overall idea is this: cloud computing is any type of service that gives users the ability to store, access and/or share files or software over a network (commonly over the Internet). Traditionally, users store files and software on their local computer, restricting access and use to that computer. Depending on the cloud computing model and the type of services being used, users are generally able to store and access their content on an Internet-based server. Users are given accessibility to their content from any Internet-accessible location, using their desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet, or any other device.
Although cloud computing is being portrayed as a new tech trend, the technology has existed for years. In fact, you have probably already used some form of cloud computing. If you have or have used a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or any other webmail account, then you have used cloud-based services. So what’s up with all the sudden hype?
Rise in Popularity
The reason why cloud computing has become so popular in the past couple of years is because of the new generation of smartphones. Smartphone users constantly access and consume information from nearly anywhere in the world, opening a whole new world to accessibility. Big time companies such as Google and Apple realized the potentials of cloud computing, and implemented cloud-based services across smartphones, computers and other devices. Similarly, many businesses have migrated or are considering migrating their network infrastructure to the cloud because of the potential of expanding accessibility, removing hardware dependency and improving cost efficiency.
Living in the Clouds
Cloud computing is somewhat in its early stages, but the potential benefits of using cloud-based services are great. Even more, I believe the cloud trend illustrates the world’s growing Internet dependency. The new generation of smartphones have changed how we consume information on a daily basis. For a lot of smartphone users (including myself), the smartphone is one of the first and last things they see at the beginning and end of each day. On the business side, a company’s presence on the Internet through websites and social media has become more of a requirement than an advantage during the past few years. Through every passing day, we are becoming more addicted and more dependent to our smartphones, tablets and computers because of their accessibility to the Internet. With the development of cloud computing, mobile devices and the big four leaders in the tech industry making moves towards services outside of their realm, our dependency on the Internet is only going to grow closer and closer to complete Internet dependency.
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