What is Cloud Computing?

Is Google Docs Cloud Computing?

Google Docs is a free (with paid service options): Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form, and data storage service offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. Google Docs is Google’s “software as a service” office suite. Documents, spreadsheets, presentations can be created with Google Docs, imported through the web interface, or sent via email. Documents can be saved to a user’s local computer in a variety of formats including: (ODF, HTML, PDF, RTF, Text, Microsoft Word). Documents are automatically saved to Google’s servers to prevent data loss, and a revision history is automatically kept. Documents can be tagged and archived for organizational purposes.

Google Docs serves as a collaborative tool for editing amongst users and non-users in real time. Documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users at the same time. Users can be notified of changes to any specified regions via e-mail. The application supports two ISO standard document formats: OpenDocument (for both opening and exporting) and Office Open XML (for opening only). It also includes support for proprietary formats such as .doc and .xls. Google Docs is one of many cloud computing, document-sharing services like Microsoft Office Live. The majority of document-sharing services require user fees, but Google Docs is free (mostly). Its popularity amongst businesses is growing due to enhanced sharing features, accessibility, and stability (it’s no longer in beta). In addition, Google Docs has enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity among students and educational institutions.

Is Windows Live Cloud Computing?

Windows Live is the collective brand name for a set of services and software products from Microsoft, which is part of their “software plus services” platform. While a majority of these services are Web (cloud) applications, accessible from any browser, there are also client-side (binary) applications that require installation on a user’s PC.

There are three ways in which Windows Live services are offered:

  1. Windows Live Essentials applications – Windows Live Messenger, Windows Mail, Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Live Essentials
  2. Web services – Hotmail, SkyDrive, Windows Live Contacts, Windows Live Calendar, and Windows Live Devices
  3. Mobile services – Windows Phone Live

Windows Live is different and separate from Xbox LIVE, which is a multiplayer gaming and content delivery system for Microsoft’s Xbox and Xbox 360 as well as the Games for Windows – LIVE multiplayer gaming service for Microsoft Windows. However, formerly separate, Office Live, (Microsoft Office cloud) services are now part of Windows Live services.

So is Windows Live actually “cloud computing” like the commercial says? Some of it is and some of it isn’t. Find out more at Windows Cloud.

Read more on cloud storage solutions from Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft.