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Cloud computing has come a long way and continues to expand year after year. The benefits of cloud computing can be far reaching and virtually invisible for so many who take advantage of it. In fact many people are already enjoying many of the benefits of cloud computing without even realizing it. That’s part of the beauty of it. It expands our technological world in ways we don’t even need to be aware of in order to reap the rewards. Let’s take a look at some of the ways cloud computing is making our lives better and how we might see things further improve in the future.

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Why do people use the cloud

Most people’s data and files reside either within their computer or near the computer on some form of hard drive. It wasn’t too long ago when we would have stacks of disks on our desktops for storing our precious data, photos and music.  Now we often leave that data on our computer hard drives, which have grown large to deal with the huge amount of data we keep. For example, HP has many great new desktop computers, like their 23 inch All-in-One PC, with a terabyte (that’s approximately a thousand gigabytes!) or more of hard drive space. Only a couple of years ago that would have been unheard of.

But our data demands keep expanding.  Many people have huge external hard drives tied to their home networks. The cost of large storage devices is now very low (compared to a few years ago) so we can get a massive hard drive, like the Seagate Personal Cloud with 4TB of space, for much less than $100 per terabyte. So storing the data is not a problem. 

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The cloud can alleviate many issues of accessing that data whenever and wherever we are and ensuring that the data is preserved, pretty much, forever.

One of my favorite benefits of cloud computing is the liberation of software and data from hardware. With cloud computing you can keep all of your files in the cloud on remote servers so that you don’t have to worry so much about your hard drive filling up with photos and documents or losing all of your files if something should happen to your computer. This lets you jump between devices on a whim knowing you’ll always be able to access your files from any location. It wasn’t long ago that file portability was a lot of work, and a constant struggle so the benefits of cloud computing are a very welcome change.

The cloud helps with collaboration

This also means that the concept of files and ownership is undergoing  an interesting change. File sharing is going to become the norm. Your files will be part of a community pool. Of course you’ll still have privacy controls but overall this will make collaboration and document sharing much, much easier. Let’s say you go on holiday with your friends; you won’t each have your own discrete photo albums. You can have a shared photo collection that lives, evolves and grows. It can conceivably be tied to other’s photos from the same areas, to give you a bigger picture of things. The cloud might start to be able to automatically recognize faces, and locations.

Consider how this could affect collaboration. We can already enjoy the benefits of the cloud with storing our work files. It can be easy to access the cloud to let you work from anywhere, or any device. Whether on your work computer, your home laptop, or a tablet in the local café. The future of the cloud can potentially go even further than that. All your software could live completely in the cloud, saving you from having to even install anything. This can also save your local hardware from having high computing load, as much of that can be offloaded to cloud servers. We already see this with some software and even video game consoles. These days people don’t often need to install email clients for example—Web mail harnessing the cloud can handle that just fine. Imagine if all your software was as easily accessible. In addition to that, all your documents can be living files, accessible in real-time by all your coworkers. Something like this could streamline or even cut down on meetings.

Being able to access your data anywhere also means you can give others access to data. Beyond simple collaboration, this could mean benefits like making shopping much easier. You’ll start to see only the advertisements that are relevant to you, so they will be welcome rather than annoyances. You’ll find clothing in your size much easier and it will be no problem to get the perfect fit and style. You could find a future where products you want to purchase come to you rather than you having to go hunt them down in stores. As a connected shopper you can look forward to a future where you won’t have to worry about stock levels for example. Like an outfit you see a character wearing in a movie? The cloud can help you find something similar, in your size, at a price you like with ease. Not sure about something before you buy it? Finding reviews is already a snap online but the cloud can help you go further to find information more aligned to your needs to help you make smarter decisions.

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Make better use of the data you have

Cloud computing goes beyond online data storage and can help you make better use of that data as well. The computing power of the cloud can mean that you not only have more control over your data but you can employ that data to make your life easier and make you more powerful over it. This should mean less fiddling around for you, as the cloud can take over a lot of these mundane tasks. Just as the cloud has already helped us stop worrying about our files or where they are and focus on what we do with them instead, the cloud has the potential to extend that to varied aspects of our lives. Running out of food? The cloud of the future could know what you need and even order it so that new supplies arrive just as your existing stock is depleted without you having to worry about a thing.

Imagine a future where you are first presented with options you are most likely to want. Imagine a future that adapts and responds to your needs and desires. Imagine a future where any device you log in to can be used as “your” device with all your files and software ready to go at your fingertips. That future is very close indeed. The cloud is powerful and growing constantly. It’s hard to tell exactly what the future holds for cloud computing but we can already see the near future on the horizon. A lot of this tech is already making a difference in our lives. We’re seeing more inexpensive cloud based computers and tablets these days for example. Cloud computing can be an elusive thing for many people who never really see or think about it but the ways it will make our lives better are definitely very welcome as they help us shift focus from the nitty gritty of data files to the pleasures of everyday life.