Cloud computing has given birth to a wide variety of web applications that many people, even yourself, use every single day. None of these innovations would have been possible with the traditional data center model that relied on one server handling everything.
Cloud computing has given rise to everything from new forms of communication to new ways of working with people in the office. Take a look below for three of most used innovations backed by the cloud that you likely use every day without thinking about it.
1. Email Anywhere in the World
Email used to be something that you needed a separate client like Outlook Express or Pegasus Mail in order to receive or send new emails. You didn’t just log on to an email client, you had to input a plethora of information in order to be able to access the “simple” mail transfer protocol server.
The advent of cloud computing change all that, as it gave way for web mail to pop into existence. Sites like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail all exist due to the cloud’s principle of letting a server do all the hard work and data handling.
The best part about it is the fact that not only can you access your web mail (including not only received messages, but sent mail and even drafts you’ve composed) from anywhere with an internet connection, you can do so regardless of the type of operating system you’re using. The minimum requirement to use most web mail services is a system with a browser capable of rendering HTML3 code, which is something that desktops, laptops, smartphones and even older net-capable mobile phones can do.
2. Streaming Video
Traditionally, steaming video is very resource intensive. It also requires a large data center to store every piece of information, including the video itself. The hardware requirement becomes exponentially larger as more viewers get added in to the equation.
That’s why companies like Netflix and websites like YouTube are backed by the cloud. On-demand and streaming video services both face similar usage peaks that would put traditional websites out of service at peak usage by viewers. A cloud environment allows these website to both grow and stay running because of the way that cloud computing distributes its resources and automatically balances loads.
3. Data Storage and Collaboration
Chances are that you’ve had to work together with one or more people on a project at least once in your life. You may have even had to put your skills together with people in an office environment in order to get a large and important project done. You might have even had to collaborate outside of your workplace, and that was probably the toughest part of working with other people.
Cloud computing has enabled workers to asynchronously collaborate on projects regardless of where they were in the world. Applications like Google Wave (formerly known as Google Docs), Spicebird, Mikogo and Stixy have made it possible for one person to create the first draft of a document and then send it to other people in his team. That document can then be passed around and other people can make changes, save additional revisions and even make comments on the different revisions.
The thing is that none of this collaboration would be possible if the different revisions of documents weren’t saved in the cloud’s data storage. There’s no need to email a copy to each person in a team when the document is stored and readily available to people permitted to view and edit it.
Victor Daily is a blogger interested in technology and social media with plenty of experience.