Cloud computing became my savior when I got a new netbook and realized I was too cheap to shell out for an original copy of pricey word processing software. It made me discover Google Docs, Google’s online office suite which lets you create documents and spreadsheets with a nifty feature: Google Docs lets you invite other users to have read and write access to your created files, making annotations and revisions seamless and unified (no need to e-mail documents back and forth unnecessarily).
It was both a budget and time saver, and this little piece of technology would soon expand to become what is popularly known as cloud computing.
As our lifestyles become heavily dependent on multiple smart devices like a work computer, a home desktop, tablet and smartphone, it is inevitable that we’d end up having important documents and files spread out across these different tools, resulting in confusion, not to mention redundant files.
Here is where cloud computing can become your savior. The cloud is a single repository of files online that you can access from any recognized device, like your own personal librarian or assistant. Popular cloud computing services include Dropbox, Box.net and Amazon’s Cloud Storage drive.
The process is simple – just send a file, photo or video to your chosen online storage account and it is then stored there for you to retrieve from whatever device you are using. For example, a saved spreadsheet on your work computer can be accessed on the road through your iPad, ready to view for that client presentation you have at a coffee shop.
Families who are located in different continents can have access to one folder of photos – no need to continuously attach photos to an e-mail and send it to your lola, tita or nephew. All you have to do is invite them to view a single folder and they can easily access and download your latest batch of family photos.
For Apple fans who just have to have the whole line of iDevices, Apple’s cloud promises to end the constant wired syncing of content by storing your apps, music and videos in the cloud, allowing all your devices to access them without the need for a sync.
Cloud computing will also help lighten your computer’s storage load. You can easily create an online storage account to dump big files like music and photos and still be able to access them. This becomes your own virtual locker or filing cabinet, accessible anywhere, anytime.
Most free online storage sites have a storage limit for upload and download, but heavy users may opt to go for premium subscriptions where you are given bigger upload sizes, faster download speeds and bigger storage capacity.