There are several contexts in which the word ‘cloud’ can be used:
Meteorology: a visible mass of condensed watery vapour floating in the atmosphere, typically high above the general level of the ground.
State of Gloom: Referring to a cause of worry, suspicion or trouble.
Appearance: To make or become less transparent or clear
State of Elation: On Cloud nine.
The list could easily go on and on. With these several different definitions of how the word ‘cloud’ can be used and it’s altering meaning, it’s no wonder there is a bit of confusion amongst most folk on the newest cloud in the dictionary. . . Cloud Computing.
The term Cloud Computing was first coined and used in 2002 by CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt when he was using it to describe the newest method of saving and sharing files. “It starts with the premise that the data services and architecture should be on servers. We call it cloud computing — they should be in a “cloud” somewhere.”
This was actually a very clever way to encourage us everyday folk to become involved with the potential of using ‘cloud computing’ by giving us something visual we could relate to . . . an entity floating above our heads that we can’t reach. As humans beings we like to be able to physically see and touch things to reaffirm they exist.
The concept of cloud computing can be quite an in-depth and difficult concept to grasp since it has many faces and ways of existing.
The easiest way to explain it is whenever you use a service to access specific information/files pertaining to you, which you can access and share from another computer or device, you are cloud computing. These are services such as webmail, Dropbox and Flickr.
Cloud Computing is the most convenient way to access your files and information if you’re not ‘on-site’. There is also the added benefit of not loosing all of your work or files from your floppy disk getting scratched, loosing your USB or having your laptop stolen.
There is the caution, that although most of these cloud based online features have security measures in place, there is the ever-present risk of hackers or accidental sharing. So just be mindful of the content you keep and share.
Currently in Australia there are fourteen million people (eighteen years and older) who have actively used a ‘cloud computer’ service since January which is approximate eighty percent of the country’s adult population. So it’s pretty safe to say, we are a country with our heads in the Cloud.