Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Cloud

So a lot of what we hear today is about 'The Cloud.' The phrase is very wondrous and has become a part of buzz marketing. Every company has their own cloud and it's a staple for some services like iTunes, the app store and Amazon. To answer the question "What is the cloud?" really depends on the kind of cloud we're talking about, and it's gotten a bit wacky.
In this post I will only address the storage cloud. I've already covered some of the increasingly popular gaming cloud in my OnLive post, but I do want to talk about that a bit more later on, in a more general sense.

So now we have many 'clouds.' The Amazon cloud (which is now one of the more creative things in the news today), the iCloud and the Steam Cloud (which is a cool name by happenstance). The amazon cloud is storage of your personal files. Amazon offers free cloud storage to many. If I'm not mistaken, the service starts out around 5GB and grows in size. MP3s and other digital files you purchase are also stored on this cloud, but don't take up any of the space allotted to you. It's a surprisingly great service if you've already bought MP3s from amazon because of their 'cloud player' that allows streaming and downloading to most any device.

The iCloud is (now) free and offers something iPhone users have virtually begged for: syncing of settings and apps through the cloud. If I'm not mistaken, this also includes saving of in-app settings and in-app files (such as game saves). I'm not an iPhone user, advocate or fan, and this is a much needed step, but it is a pretty big step in the right direction. however, in the case of apple, there is never a 'too little, too late' scenario. I have more to say about the iOS in general, but neither that's here nor there.

The Steam cloud is akin to the iCloud in that it saves settings and save files. If you don't know what Steam is, then you probably don't care much about it. Steam is (for the sake of being a completionist) a digital distributor of PC games. The largest digital distributor in the world, currently.

The Cloud is a fairly recent buzz marketing term for everyone to get excited about. In reality, clouds have existed for a while in the form of P2P sharing and sites like YouTube. Services like Dropbox, which is a distributive cloud service, gives us more depth and functionality each and every day. The cloud is being used in more exciting and fun ways.

An idea I haven't hit on, but I will get to later, is distributive computing. Not a cloud service in anyway, but certainly a working cloud model.

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