It seemed for some time that Google’s vision of online apps — Google Docs, Sheets and Slides — was destined to remain a free, lightweight solution to basic apps. Within a short few years, however, we have seen them grow in use and of course, now we have Microsoft’s online apps in the form of Microsoft 365.

1. Definition

Cloud Computing is defined as the on-demand delivery of software services over the Internet. The services range from storage to databases, networking, software, and analytics. Traditionally, applications were installed on the local storage device of a computer. With Cloud Computing, the applications are installed on servers and made available to clients via the Internet. The interface is presented in the client’s browser.

Software as a Service (“SaaS”) is a subset of Cloud Computing.

2. Examples

It seemed to me that for quite some time Google was the leader with its SaaS offering of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Gmail and more, while Microsoft appeared to be clinging to its disk-based solutions. Microsoft 365, launched globally in 2011, offers online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook which I would say surpass the capabilities of Google’s offerings.

Google Docs icon.
Google Docs icon.
Google Sheets icon.
Google Sheets icon.
Google Slides icon.
Google Slides icon.
New Gmail icon
Gmail
icon.

3. Advantages

  • Takes advantage of the processing power of powerful servers.
  • Updates and patches happen automatically.
  • The applications do not use local storage capacity.
  • Applications do not need to be compatible with the client computer’s operating system.

4. Disadvantages

  • The user must be online to work.
  • A broadband connection is needed.
  • Data costs are incurred while you are working.

References:

  1. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (2024) Cloud computing. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing (Accessed: 22 January 2024).
  2. Frankenfield, J. (no date) What is Cloud Computing? Pros and Cons of Different Types of ServicesInvestopedia. Investopedia. Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/cloud-computing.asp (Accessed: 22 January 2024).

By MisterFoxOnline

Mister Fox AKA @MisterFoxOnline is an ICT, IT and CAT Teacher. He has a passion for technology and loves to find solutions to problems using the skills he has learned in the course of his IT career.

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