Google, Microsoft and Apple have all been developing cloud-based virtual services for some time now, but it looks as if this year will see computing make the paradigm shift into the ether, with more and more rumours suggesting that a Google "GDrive" is just around the corner.
This will mean more information storage and processing done on remote servers, freeing up our hardware to be skinnier and sexier and our computing to be truly mobile.
Now, on paper, Google has by far the most experience in this area – the
company was founded on web services, so will it have the edge
against Microsoft and Apple, who have also thrown their hats into the
cloud computing ring with SkyDrive and MobileMe?
Google's GDrive would basically provide online storage through Google servers – enough for the entire contents of your hard drive. You'd be able to access all your desktop files remotely, via a web interface, and there'd be tight integration with a host of Google services – Docs, Gmail, Picasa, etc
And unlike its competitors GDrive will probably offer unlimited storage free of charge, whereas SkyDrive will offer 25GB free, although limited to 50MB per file.
Apple's MobileMe asks for a subscription for its web, desktop and mobile love-in and, as we've seen it's got a long way to go.
Now, of course, there's likely to be a quid pro quo, and it's likely to be exchanging a piece of your privacy for these free services. Just like GMail, Google is likely scan your (authorised) web-based files in order to deliver targeted advertising.
Personally, that's something I can probably live with – I mean, it's not as if Google is going to rip off its mask and reveal a lizard visage, before using the entire world's personal information to enslave us all.
What do you think? Are you backing cloud computing? Which services will you use when you do move skyward? Let us know below...