Cloud computing is becoming a more important part of the IT world, although unless you understand how it is being implemented you may not realise that you are using it at all. Here is a look at how Apple, Google and Microsoft are harnessing the cloud in current and future projects.
Apple launched its first cloud computing service in 2011, sensibly calling it iCloud in order to fit in with other devices it produces, like the iPhone and iPad.
iCloud is largely focused on keeping your media files accessible across multiple devices by storing them remotely and synchronising them seamlessly.
The idea is that you can purchase a music track or eBook via your iTunes account on your PC and when you pick up your iPhone or iPad it will already have been added to your collection.
This eliminates the annoying process of wired synchronisation from the equation, because the files are stored neatly on the cloud and passed on to each device that needs them.
Media files are not the only thing you can synchronise with iCloud, as you typically get a 5GB allocation of storage space and you can transfer across contacts, bookmarks, calendar settings and even email direct to your Apple devices from a Mac or even a Windows-based computer.
You will need to activate iCloud on all of your devices in order to get each one talking to the service, but this, like many of Apple's software processes, is relatively simple.
Google Chrome is a web browser based on the open source Chromium source code and has been around in various forms since 2008.
There is also the Chrome OS from Google, which is based on Linux and operates almost entirely via applications which run over the web, powered by cloud computing.
Both Chrome and the Chrome OS are unlike traditional web browsers and operating systems because they rely less on the resources which are available from local hardware and are instead based on having high speed web access to make features and functions operate smoothly.
The result is that there is less strain put on your computer and the overall experience is one which feels faster and slicker than some rivals, simply because the back end of the number crunching is being handled in the cloud.
Broadband Expert will have more info on internet providers in my area so that you can work out which package to choose in order to support the fast connectivity that will allow Chrome to flourish.
Windows 8 is the next operating system from Microsoft and it will be targeted not only at desktop and laptop computers but also at the tablet market, which is an area in which Apple has become dominant since the 2010 launch of the iPad.
Microsoft has enacted a number of features for Windows 8 which will make it more reliant on cloud computing, following in the footsteps of Chrome to a certain degree although still retaining more independence than Google's web-centric software.
The benefit of this is that companies will be able to produce smartphone and tablet-style apps for their services which will be free from the shackles of a web browser and thus able to take full advantage of all the processing grunt of a Windows 8 machine.
Social networking giant Facebook was one of the first to announce its intentions to build a Windows 8 application that takes advantage of this setup, so expect many more to follow once it is available to the general public.
Tech companies are making it easier and easier to start using cloud computing platforms, although it is necessary that users have decent internet connections to take full advantage of what is on offer. Those in areas of limited coverage could be left behind.
Chances are that you have been using some kind of cloud computing service without actually knowing it. So educating yourself on the topic will help you to make the most out of the emerging platforms.
About the Author:
Shannen Doherty is a writer who often turns her hand to pieces examining the upcoming technological trends in both the hardware and software markets Broadband Expert will have more info on internet providers in my area and you can also use her articles to guide you through the maze that is the contemporary industry.