With the release of Apples iCloud, and Google already providing applications and software through their own version of Cloud computing, we take a look at what both companies are actually offering and see if Apple are about to do an abomination like the abolished MobileMe disaster, and if Google are setting themselves up for a fall with their attempt to tie in hardware and software, sounding more like the bastard child of Microsoft day by day to me….and if they get it right they can cream in more money by making sure that security is abysmal and make more cash protecting us….and using our data for some other “non evil” means.
Cynical head off, back to work…
We ask, what does cloud computing actually mean?
Here is the reason we ask.
Apple term iCloud as a reference to an online synchroniser where the data and applications it will provide to users of devices such as iPods, iPads, Mac’s or iPhones will always have the most up to date version available and will be easily accessed from all your devices that are synced together, iTunes etc.
Google’s cloud means you can access software hosted on Google’s own servers, which mitigates the need for huge hard drives when the applications you require are accessed from the cloud instead.
The new Chromebooks with only a 16Gb hard drive are proof of this concept. Allowing the user to be truly mobile, meaning that if you were to go on a year long tour of the world, if you were using Googles Cloud based software, you would only need access to an Internet connection and a computer, the actual device you used would be less of an issue, as you would be using the Google clouds software via Google browser to access the cloud based applications you needed.
The question I pose to Google is this though:
If one of your main unique selling points is:
Now you do not actually need a computer to use most of the software you will ever need. Just find a computer that you can use and login to the cloud and be right at home.
Why the F*** are they trying to sell us an overpriced Samsung netbook with limited functionality to do this, with no Hard Drive and that weighs the same as the competitors which also weigh in cheaper in price?
Issue for iCloud and Google Cloud:
Google’s selling points are the following:
- No need to worry about security.
- No need to update your software.
- Access your data from anywhere.
- Anyone can access your data given the right passwords.
- Google get to see all your documents, everything and target you with advertising.
- There is nothing in particular that sets a Chrome book apart from a netbook apart from a smaller hard drive, the netbook can by and large do what the Chromebook can and looks the same, no benefit in weight or size.
- The cloud and Internet security in general is dangerously open to abuse as has been reported recently with the US government, Sony and various other large corporations and government’s feeling the back hand of a geek attack.
Our concerns are:
So what really is the Cloud
I believe that both Apple and Google offer a true cloud based solution to accessing software and data from the Internet, saving hard drive space and increasing the ability to have more than one device using the same data (music, films, documents etc)
The benefit of Apples system is that the actual data is hosted on the device(s) also and that allows for issues at Apples end to go largely unnoticed (unless they are down for a month like Sony as recently.)
Whereas Google’s take on this provides less insurance. If Google’s servers are down you are screwed right now.
Saying that I actually do not know myself of a time when Google has had much more than a glitch, that is still not 100% insurance admittedly.
There is going to be no price differentiation at all, with the iCloud coming in at zero cost to Apple users and Google’s offering being “free” minus the data they collect off you and then use to sell you stuff via advertising.
In all honesty as much as it sounds potentially scary I quiet like contextual advertising, sometimes I want to be sold to.
As you can expect with all things Apple they will have a stranglehold over what you can and can not do, and while you may knock them they do save a lot of headaches for their patrons.
We will be looking at the Android marketplace and seeing how an unregulated app store causes headaches for everyone when malicious software gets past……mmm, actually, simply gets in, as there is no security in the first place.
So what do you think of cloud computing, here to stay or gone with a puff of smoke when the first major security breach occurs….?
And what are the real benefits to you right now, if any?Anthony Munns