One of the recent developments that have come with faster broadband connections is an increasing prevalence of software that runs over the internet, rather than being installed on your computer.
Non Cloud – Most people have used Microsoft Word or other similar office software products. You create documents on your computer and save them on your computer.
Cloud – With Google Docs, the software is installed on Google’s computers, and the files are saved on Google’s computers. You log in using your browser (internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari) to create and edit documents.
Also known as ‘Software as a Service’, the term ‘cloud computing’ comes from schematic diagrams of computer networks, where the internet is drawn as a cloud.
Some advantages of cloud computing are:
- Low cost – the software is generally free to use
- No upgrades are required – the software always up to date
- Automated backup – if your computer crashes, the files are accessible online
- Collaboration – many users can work on the same document, no need to email back and forth.
- Flexibility – You can work on the document from any location with Internet access, even your phone
Word processing is one example of cloud computing that you can start using immediately. But you can do almost all your computing in the cloud – email, accounting, customer relationship management, ecommerce, project management etc.