2012 will be remembered as the year that cloud computing went big – and we’ve narrowed it down to the following seven cloud apps in our search for the best of the year.
From £5 rdio.com
Having been available in the US for a couple of years, music streaming service Rdio made the leap across the pond this year and succeeded in offering what some may have thought impossible: a genuine alternative to Spotify. It offers around 18m songs and is available on desktop, web and every major smartphone OS.
The Beeb’s catch-up service needs no introduction – it’s been letting us watch the likes of Eastenders, The Killing and Sherlock for years via our web browsers. It’s now coming into its own as a smartphone cloud app too, with the latest update for iOS allowing users to download shows for offline viewing.
The app formerly known as Read It Later, Pocket lets you “save” interesting web pages in order to, well, read them later. Working across multiple computer web browsers and smartphone platforms, it lets you peruse saved articles offline and does so with a lot more style than its closest rival Instapaper.
bbc.co.uk & iPlayer
A web browser-based animated comic book from Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright? Is that really an app? Yes, yes it is: because this four-part tale (in part made to show off IE9 and HTML5’s AV chops) is – or rather was, because it’s finished now – a crowdsourced comic, with readers able to contribute ideas to the next chapter. 21st century stuff indeed.
A USB stick for the 2010s, Dropbox is a free cloud-based storage service for, well, pretty much anything: make a folder, drop photos, videos, MP3s, documents or whatever into it from your computer and once they’re uploaded, you’ll be able to access them from almost anything with a web connection. The first 2GB of storage is free, but more can be added in various ways. Not the most thrilling of web apps, perhaps – but certainly among the most genuinely useful.
Google Docs morphed into Google Drive earlier this year, but it’s not just about documents anymore: Google has responded to Dropbox by offering a full-on cloud locker service in which almost any kind of file can be stored, modified and accessed later from elsewhere different. And the 5GB of free starting storage is tasty.
Another cloud locker service, SkyDrive hands new users a stonking 7GB of free storage and works across web browsers (where it uses HTML5 to slick effect) and apps for desktop and mobile devices.
Check out the Stuff Gadget Awards 2012 – and don't forget to come back on November 1st, when we'll be announcing the winners!