Computer geeks do so love using weird and oddly poetic buzz words to describe new trends. From these formidable minds, we mere mortals were handed such gems as “phishing”, “blog”, “spam”, “digg” and “cookies”. Yes, cookies.
Here’s another one that you’ve probably heard being mentioned in your travels on the internet: cloud computing.
It does sound a bit up in the air, so I’m going to try and describe it in as simple a way as I can.
At its most basic level, cloud computing is an internet-based service that you can use – without having to understand the technology behind it – to satisfy whatever computer need you may have.
In other words, its using software available “in the clouds” of the internet, so to speak. You do whatever you want done via the internet, with software installed on a “virtual” computer.
An obvious example is web-based email services, such as Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail. You can send, receive and store email on the internet, without having to install any software on your machine.
Another example is Google’s document service where you can open any document on the internet, change it, and save it again. You don’t need to buy any software, or install any software on your computer. If you have the file and an internet connection, you can open it and change it.
Of course, this is a very slimmed down definition of cloud computing. The term actually includes a broad spectrum of technologies. For a more in-depth and technical definition of cloud computing, you can read up about it on Wikipedia.
And finally, Joyent, a company who specialises in providing the technology needed to offer cloud computing services, asked some web luminaries about cloud computing at the Web 2.0 Expo.