The Cloud: no longer sky based

The cloud. It isn’t just a formation of precipitation in the sky. It’s a newly developed type of storage that’s grown into popularity over the last few years. “The cloud” can virtually store any type of data the user and or system uploads into it. The most recent boom of users came in 2006 when Google released the first prototype.

So why the name “cloud”? A cloud drifts effortlessly in the sky, it may change directions and course; but at the end of the day it will stay be in the sky. Same as the cloud storage, its data is stored “somewhere in the sky” and is always available for easy access to the user. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, the cloud computing system is readily available for the user’s needs at the click of a button.

Who provides cloud-based services? What can they offer us? Is it worth our time?

The most prominent provider of the cloud is Google. Google’s “Drive” allows Gmail users to upload, share and edit various types of files in the cloud. Depending on the type of subscription to Google services, you are given a data limit to work with. However, they frequently have promotional periods in which they add the amount of storage capacity for the user’s needs.

This service is most popular within the student community as it allows multiple users to work on the same document from various locations. The files are continuously saved in the cloud — providing users up to date, real time edits to their documents.

Dropbox was released a year after Google Drive. Its manufacturer is Dropbox Inc., centrally located in the USA. Their main focus is the storage of large files within their cloud-based servers. All you need is an email address to sign up.

The perks of Dropbox is that it’s basically a large USB that’s available on any device that’s connected to the Internet. You can upload books, videos, movies, photos, etc. and have them at the tips of your fingers. The service is provided on all new phone models, computers and tablets. It’s a great tool to save data storage on your device or an alternative to a portable storage unit.

OneDrive is run by Microsoft and was launched the same year as Dropbox. Similarly to Dropbox, OneDrive acts as storage unit for users that are subscribed to Microsoft products such as Microsoft Office and Hotmail, to name a few.

It enables the user to save Office documents within the cloud attached to the user identification for easy access from any device; on the other hand, Hotmail uses the cloud to upload large email attachments to share within the community.

So there you have it. Three prominent providers — Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. They all use cloud-based technology to store user data for easy access from any device at any given time.

While my favourite provider is Google Drive due to its easy access and user friendly perks, it’s up to you to explore and compare which cloud service suits your needs the best. I’ll leave you with a quick recap of cloud computing.