Cloud Computing: Storing Documents and Syncing Across Multiple Devices

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Technology—This week Microsoft software giant announced the general release of Office 365. They are now joining the ranks of Apple, Amazon, and Google in this technology that has been around for some years. This technology is called “Cloud Computing,” and basically allows us to store documents, photos, and other content on the internet and sync it across multiple devices (Source:

The problem these companies have to overcome is to demystify what cloud computing means to the consumer and how it can simplify their lives. Gartner analyst David Smith says, “It’s not just consumers and lay people who struggle with the cloud, it’s experienced IT people who struggle with it.” (Source:, June 26, 2011). So what is the cloud in the sky and how does it affect the average consumer? I will try to shed some light on this rather interesting service.

Defining Cloud Computing

The concept behind cloud computing has been around for some time in many different incarnations in the business world. Cloud computing basically means a grid of computers serving as a service-oriented architecture to deliver software and data (Source: Technology expert John Abell says that “they allow you to not use expensive, bulky, storage space here on earth and instead allow you to put things in someone else’s computer for free or little cost.” Basically, it is a cloud of resources and makes our hardware less necessary  (Source:, June 7, 2011).

I think the Apple website does a good job at breaking down what iCloud actually means for consumers and how it can simplify their lives. For example, there are Apps that make it possible to create wonderful and eye-catching presentations, write reports, etc. from your iOS device. Now with the iCloud, you can access these documents on whichever device you are using. The document is immediately transferred in seconds to all of your devices, including your Mac or PC (Source: The days of having to sync your devices is over with this new cloud computing.

Benefiting from Cloud Computing

Another benefit, especially for us parents who are taking a million photographs of our kids, is that if we take a photo on an iOS device, or if we import a photo from our digital camera to our computer, the iCloud will automatically send a copy over any available Wi-Fi network (or Ethernet) to all of our devices that store photos such as the Pictures Library on our PC or iPhoto on our Macs (Source: Sounds good to me. My days of having to make sure all of my photographs are saved and stored properly in each of my devices in case one of them crashes are over!

The biggest obstacle these companies have is to simplify the concept behind a hosted private cloud and cloud computing. Apparently only 40% of Americans understand such cloud services as Google Docs for documents, according to a report from market researcher Ipsos OTX MediaCT. According to the survey of 1,000 U.S. respondents, only 9% actually use such services. But the company who does the best job could win the golden ticket as Forrester Research forecasts that by the year 2016, the U.S market for personal cloud services will hit $12 billion and 196 million consumers (Source:, June 26, 2011).

What are your thoughts on cloud computing? How do you currently store documents, photos, and other content on the internet and sync it across multiple devices?

Melissa Northway is a mom, writer of children’s picture books, and has written a storybook app and book called Penelope the Purple Pirate. She enjoys writing about topics that interest her – which includes most things. Penelope the Purple Pirate was chosen as a Top 10 Must-Have eBook by lilsugar of and as a Top 10 Educational iPad app by Digital Storytime. You can read more about Penelope and Melissa at:

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