Rise of the personal ‘cloud’

THE long-awaited launch last April 25 of Google Drive puts into focus advances in consumer cloud computing, the term for remote computing and storage services accessible through the Internet.

Google Drive offers five gigabytes of free online storage space that can be synchronized with various devices in different platforms. This means that if you place a file in the Google Drive space in your laptop, is accessible from anywhere via your browser and in all other connected devices, even Android phones (the iOS app is still coming).

Google is late to the online storage space party — Dropbox, Box.net and Microsoft’s Skydrive predated it by years. But the stature of the search giant as well as the promise of tight integration with its already popular services and its mobile OS Android give it a key advantage.

I’ve been using Google Drive but I still rely on Dropbox because I work on three operating systems – Windows in the office, OSX on the laptop and Linux on my home desktop – and only Dropbox supports all three. Google Drive still does not have a Linux client and its iOS apps are still not available.

With all these offerings we are finally realizing what a Sun Microsystems employee said decades back, “the network is the computer.”

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