Files in the Cloud   2 comments

PlacesToday, there were several announcements on the cloud computing front. Google announced the long-rumored Google Drive. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s SkyDrive announced expansions to its service with Mac and Widnows clients. This joins services such as Dropbox in enabling users to store files “in the cloud.”

All these products work roughly the same way: users can upload files to this, and access them from any internet-connected computer. What’s more, they have client software that make the file space appear just like part of the file system. I can launch Word on my home computer, and open a file on one of these services like any other file, edit it, then close it. Later, on, say, my work computer, I can access it the same way.

SkyDrive is interesting in that it works with Microsoft’s web-based version of OFfice. This is very appealing to me, in that I can use the powerful desktop version of Excel to work on a document at home, but can edit it on another computer with the browser-based version. In contrast, Google Docs only edits files in their proprietary format, which cannot be edited by another program such as Excel.

I’m still skeptical about keeping very critical files in the cloud. First, there is the obvious security concern. Further, I worry about the “Hotel California” problem: I might choose to “check out” of the service, but my files may not conveniently come with me. While less of a concern with Google and Microsoft, what happens when the company folds?

However, for keeping some reference files, templates, and logs, it seems like a great solution. I’ve been using Dropbox for some time now, to keep a few files that come in handy in a variety of places. Google Drive and SkyDrive both look like they will expand on this capability. Ideally, I’d pick SkyDrive. However, my MacBook is still running Snow Leopard; SkyDrive only works with Lion. I haven’t decided if this will be the final thing to push me into the new version.

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Posted 2012-04-24 by Mr. Guilt in computers, IT Opinion

2 responses to “Files in the Cloud

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  1. Pingback: Advice: Back Up Web Recipes | Mr. Guilt's Blog

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