The Cloud Gets Personal
The “cloud”—once the purview of IT geeks and software developers—has gotten personal. For several years, there’s been a movement to transition software from the desktop or local server to the cloud (which, most broadly defined, just means Internet-enabled, on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources that can be rapidly accessed and used with minimal management effort).
One example is Web-to-print software, typically offered as Saas (software-as-a-service), but which has more recently been referred to as cloud-based. But in the past year, especially with the introduction of iCloud, Apple’s foray into offering cloud-based services to individuals, the cloud is getting decidedly personal.
Recently, Google joined Apple (iCloud) and Amazon (Whispersync) with the introduction of its contribution to the field of personal cloud-based file saving and sharing, called Google Play. Google is marketing the free Google Play as a way to share all of one’s personal digital stuff—music, books, movies, apps—across all of one’s digital devices instantly. It has built a very iTunes-like store where one can find all of the above mentioned digital stuff, sans iPhone/iPad apps. (Android-only, thank you very much!)
Cloud printing is another player in this area, a place where Google plays, as well, with its Google Cloud Print. Google isn’t the first or only vendor in this space; printing industry familiar EFI offers EFI PrintMe, and Xerox offers Xerox Extensible Interface Platform (EIP), “a software platform upon which developers can use standard Web-based tools to create server-based applications that can be configured for the MFP’s touchscreen user interface.”
The basic idea with cloud printing is that a person can print to the cloud (i.e., a virtual print file holding pen) and later the file is released to a specific remote printing device. Expect to see more cloud-printing options in the near future.