The “Cloud” once the purview of IT geeks and software developers, has gotten personal. For several years there’s been a movement to transition software from the desktop or local server to the Cloud (which most broadly defined just means the Internet, enabling on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources that can be rapidly accessed and used with minimal management effort.) On example is web-to-print software, typically offered as Saas (software-as-a-service) but which has more recently been referred to as cloud-based. But in the past year, especially with the introduction of iCloud, Apple’s foray into offering cloud-based services to individuals, the Cloud is getting decidedly personal.
Two days ago, Google joined Apple (iCloud) and Amazon (Whispersync) with it's contribution to the field of personal Cloud-based file saving and sharing called Google Play. Google is marketing the free Google Play as a way to share all of one's personal digital stuff—music, books, movies, apps—across all of one's digital devices instantly. They've built a very iTunes-like store where one can find all of the above mentioned digital stuff, sans iPhone/iPad apps (Android-only thank you very much!) Cloud printing is another player in this area, a place where Google plays as well with Google Cloud Print. Google isn't the first or only vendor in this space, printing industry familiar EFI offers EFI PrintMe®, and Xerox offers Xerox Extensible Interface Platform (EIP),"a software platform upon which developers can use standard web-based tools to create server-based applications that can be configured for the MFP’s touch-screen user interface." The basic idea with Cloud printing is that a person can print to the Cloud (i.e. a virtual printing file holding pen) and later the file is released to a specific remote printing device. Expect to see more Cloud-printing options in the near future.
Having recently experienced the theft of my iPad (astoundingly it was recovered—thanks local police!) I can appreciate what I now consider the necessity of cloud-based storage for all of my digital acquisitions (not to mention a very strong password.) How about you?