It’s raining Clouds. These recent days has seen the 3 major movers and shakers of technosumer world (Apple, Google, Microsoft) each busy stealing the thunder from the others’ clouds. Cloud computing is not new per se, it has been a key technology development shaping the professional computing world (data warehousing, corporate services etc). But now it has gone into a frenzy of world domination as each fights to be the cloud that is everything and everywhere for every of you… get ready for the Battle of the Clouds.
So what is this Cloud in the consumer world? It stores all data private and public in a huge common virtual space, where each person’s data is separated only by an ID and password. For common data (eg. music), there is only one copy of it in the cloud and you (and everyone else with access) co-share it with your ID/password access. And since it is in virtual space, any device would have access to that one data via the internet, and would update the same copy. So your phone, tablet, computer, netbook, office computer will all have the same content anywhere, everywhere.
Apple’s iCloud was officially announced on 6 June, coming to you this fall, built into iOS 5. With one sync update every single iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch could be iClouded in no time. Apple promises seamless integration of iCloud in all your existing and new apps since it is built right in the core of iOS 5. Take a photo with your iPhone and that photo will be everywhere in all your devices (Apple of course).
Google’s Cloud (or rather Clouds) is currently a 4-prong force = Google Cloud Music called Music Beta active trials in USA (for all your music everywhere), Google Cloud Print (print to your cloud printer from any device anywhere), Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office (to steal your office documents away from Microsoft’s Cloud), Google Apps Cloud Service (conveniently hip-ping Apps with Cloud). You don’t need to be a weather man to see more cloudy skies at Google – coming soon to ChromeOS for Chromebooks, Android 3.1 phones and tablets and Chrome 12 browser.
Microsoft Windows Cloud is Microsoft’s answer to its rivals. Having the most corporate footprint among the 3, it has already been actively clouding with its corporate clients – Microsoft Cloud Services, Microsoft Cloud Power, marketed with Microsoft Cloud Experience events. But those, as mentioned earlier, are the corporate clouds. In the hype to cloud the consumer world, Microsoft has been the least clear and and least vocal. Windows Cloud seems to be a hastily patched together marketing answer adding Cloud to existing services to [insert cloud icon] Create, [insert cloud icon] Connect, [insert cloud icon] Share with Windows 7 and Windows Live. Microsoft marketers also have to think of how to re-hip the un-hip Windows Live Mesh (seriously which non-tech consumer gets that name) which is essentially a cloud, just not hip. Or wait it out with Windows 8 (recently announced and demo’d), Windows Phone 7 (o dear) and Internet Explorer 10 browser.
Cloud, Cloud, Cloud and more Cloud coming your way. In the Battle of Clouds, music of thunder will roar and flashes of lightning will strike as advertisements, offers, online sentiment swaying and other tactics will come your way to convince and grab you into their cloud. Don’t be afraid, don’t let them cloud your judgment – just pick that one soft white fluffy cotton-like cloud and frolic in consumer content heaven… i.e. until one dominates and then changes the rules (don’t they always do? remember the nice Microsoft as an underdog?). Enjoy the coming happy clouds while you can : ).