Google Cloud Computing
The Death of the Desktop
"What is ... likely is your digital life will be contained in multiple places and the web will be the hub through which it all flows. If you have a Flickr account, a Gmail account, or are using any web-based application you are already heading in that direction. Your stuff is already in what techies call the “cloud” — also known as the Internet — and not on some local hard drive on your desktop or laptop."
Cloud computing refers to a computing environment where neither applications nor data reside on an individual computer or dedicated server. This means a user can access the same applications and data at home and at school by means of an Internet browser.
Google has developed an excellent collection of "cloud" tools. See the selection below.
The first step in connecting to the "cloud" is to set up a Google Account. This is fast and easy and is your key to all the other features.
Google Docs includes three "office" applications;
- Word processor; has the same basic functions as MS Word and can import and export Word .doc files.
- Spreadsheet; has the same basic functions as MS Excel and can import and export Excel .xls files.
- Presentation; has the same basic functions as MS PowerPoint (see below)
Google's new browser is designed to optimize running Web based applications.
A very full-featured online calendar that can be personal or shared with others. It can send you and others email reminders of upcoming events.
Gmail is considered one of the best free Web-based email services. There are 6 gigabytes of storage available which means you can keep a huge number of messages. They are all searchable and can be tagged with your own descriptors.
Google's free photo editing and storage application. 1 gigabyte of free storage is available.
Google's presentation software (Google Presentations) is not a well developed program. A better choice for a portable application is ZoHo's Show 2.0. Show 2.0 is compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint files for both import and export. ZoHo has a complete suite of "cloud" applications similar to Google's. As in Google, you just have to create a free account to get access to all their applications.