You Probably Already Use It
When somebody uses cloud computing, they’re essentially using a company’s computer to run programs they wouldn’t otherwise be able to, store data safely outside of their own computer, or to access online apps and programs.
Let’s take a deeper look at what cloud computing is, and learn about the different examples that are all around us.
Cloud Computing 101
To keep things simple, let’s take a look at cloud computing from the consumer side of things. There are plenty of services online that you may already take advantage of that use ‘the cloud.’
Essentially, the cloud is a term used for when you access a service through another computer online. For example, when you save files to an online storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox, you’re accessing the cloud.
It’s quite a silly term — there aren’t any clouds involved — really, all you’re doing is connecting to the internet and storing files on a computer somewhere else.
Companies like Google and Dropbox will often charge customers a monthly subscription to access these cloud computers. By paying, you’re able to store files safely, and access them at any point. It’s a great way to keep your files backed up, and it gives you the freedom to store more files than you’d typically be able to store at home.
Saving files online is just one example of the cloud. We’ll take a look at other examples of the cloud below.
Examples of the Cloud
There are many different cloud services out there. We’ve taken a look at the different cloud computing services that are used, and have explained how you can take advantage of these services too.
Using Microsoft Office Apps and Google Docs in the Cloud
Office 365 is now connected to the cloud. You can pay for a subscription, and then be able to use Microsoft Office apps such as Word, Office, and Powerpoint to create documents and files. When you save files, you are able to save them directly online to the cloud. By doing this, you are given a number of benefits.
First, by saving Microsoft Office files to the cloud, you don’t have to worry about the loss of files if your device breaks. You can simply log into your Office account from another computer and access the files again.
Being able to save files to the cloud through Microsoft Office 365 also gives you the freedom to work from any device. You can easily sign into your Microsoft account on any computer and get access to all of your data immediately.
These same services are available from Google as well, and Google offers a range of free apps and a small amount of storage for free, too. All of their tools can be found on the Google Drive website. Once again, everything will be tied to your Google account.
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Google Photos and iOS Photos
Ever noticed how when you delete a photo on your phone, it remains in the trash folder for 30 days? This is because all of the photos you take on most phones these days are directly uploaded to the cloud.
The great thing about this smartphone feature is that it’s free. You can upload hundreds of photos to Google Photos or the iCloud automatically. You can also make it so all photos are uploaded automatically. This means that when you take a photo, it’ll automatically be uploaded to the cloud without any prior action needed from you.
Both Google Photos and iOS Photos prove to be two of the easiest ways to keep your memories safe.
Play Games Through the Cloud
A number of services exist that allow you to play games through the cloud. With these services, you can play high quality 3D games on laptops, consoles, and even your phone.
Because the games are powered by computers in the cloud, the device you’re using doesn’t have to do any of the work. Instead, all your device does is act as a second display for the cloud computer. You can use a controller or tap the screen to control the game.
PlayStation currently offers a service called PS Now that lets you stream games to your PC or your PlayStation 4. There are also services that allow you to access PC games on a low end laptop or mobile device. One such service is called LiquidSky.
With LiquidSky, you’re given access to your own PC in the cloud. You can access it remotely, download apps and games, and then play them on your laptop or mobile screen.
As you can see, the cloud has quickly become a big part of our lives. We’re now starting to rely on the storage and hardware in our own devices less and less, and we’re beginning to use the power of computers in the cloud for more tasks.
A great example of what the cloud is capable of is the Google Chromebook laptops. These devices have very cheap hardware and a very small amount of storage space on them.
Google can do this because all of the apps on the Chromebook laptops are accessible through the cloud. Whenever you use a program or an app, it’s saved to the cloud instead of being saved directly to your device.