Recently Microsoft have been talking about how Windows 8 will offer the opportunity of bringing the personal cloud to billions of users. Interestingly, Microsoft have listed three distinct categories of how people use cloud computing for personal use.
File Clouds provide cloud based traditional file storage that give users access from anywhere and examples include Microsoft’s own SkyDrive as well as services such as DropBox.
Device Clouds allow content to be purchased and shared across multiple devices in a transparent way. These devices maybe TV’s, mobile devices and work without the users having to be concerned where the content is stored. The most obvious example of this is Apple’s iCloud.
Application Clouds Hosted in the cloud, these applications allow anywhere access as well as improved document sharing and collaboration. No client software installation and a pay per use model means that these applications are attractive to individuals. Examples include Google Apps, Office365 as well as services such as Spotify.
It will be really interesting given their comments to see how Microsoft incorporate the personal cloud into Windows 8. At the moment, when using Windows, choosing cloud services is a very definite decision the user makes. With Windows 8 cloud access could be made a totally transparent. When a file is saved, where is it actually stored – locally or in the cloud ? If a photo is taken by a Windows powered phone, will it automatically be available to that users Windows 8 desktop or mobile computer ? Windows 8 has the potential to become the operating system that, leveraging cloud computing, can make access to our data seamless. The security of the data can be improved and the opportunities for collaboration significantly removed. I look forward to to the release.