"The cloud" is nothing and everything at once, so it's not surprising that pretty much nobody (no normal people, I mean) can define or even identify it. But tech terms like this soak through our cultural consciousness until it seems like you're supposed to know what it is. Which is where this unexpectedly enlightening survey comes in. It found that most people have no idea what the cloud is, have pretended to know what it means on first dates, and yet effectively all respondents are active cloud computing users. And that's the way this stuff should work. When you can use technology without using jargon, that's a triumph of technology, not a reason to ridicule users.
Some key numbers:
- 54 percent of respondents claim to never use the cloud. 95 percent of those people actually are. (Unlike the surveyors, I don't think online shopping or banking counts as cloud computing.)
- 51 percent of respondents think stormy weather can interfere with cloud computing.
- 22 percent of respondents "admit that they've pretended to know what the cloud is or how it works." 14 percent have pretended during a job interview. 17 percent have pretended during what must be just awful first dates.
- 56 percent think other people are pretending to know what it is, too.
- 40 percent like the idea of accessing work data while at home, naked. The phrase "birthday suit" is used; it's not clear which percentage of respondents rolled their eyes upon hearing it.
The stat I did not include in that list, which surveyors Citrix and Wakefield Research make sure to harp on, is that the number one response to "what does the phrase 'the cloud' bring to mind" is related to weather--specifically, a "fluffy white thing." Here's why: the respondents were not briefed that this question is about the tech term, rather than a literal cloud of water floating above our heads. That is an unfair question! It's designed to make the respondents sound like idiots, when in fact, thank god that was the first response. A visible mass of water droplets and ice crystals is an infinitely more valuable and important concept to know.
We think we have to know what the cloud is because of surveys like this (and, to be honest, because of articles like the one you're reading right now). Tech is such a part of everyday life right now that even the most insubstantial of buzzwords feel weightier than they are. If you keep hearing these terms, you think, man, where did I miss this? How can I not know this? I'll just nod and smile and Google it when I get home. But this survey, maybe unintentionally, proves that we're doing just fine, because 97 percent of all those surveyed are actually benefiting from this movement they mostly don't understand. It's not important to know all of the varying definitions of a meaningless phrase like "the cloud." It's important that you've stored all your photos online so when your hard drive fails, you've still got them. It's important that college students no longer have the excuse that something went wrong while emailing a Word document to themselves, because Google Docs exists.
Do Americans understand cloud computing? Yes! Absolutely! And they've managed it without the need for buzzwords.
"The Cloud is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work... when you go to church... when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth." :)
Is that a good description?
While shopping online is debatable, banking online is definetly cloud computing. Your bank stores statements, transaction logs, account information in the cloud and allows you to directly interact with such information by paying bills to other cloud entities, moving money between accounts, or depositing checks. I don't understand how this is any less cloud computing than Google docs or dropbox.
The cloud itself is fairly easy to define unless you try to muddy it. A cloud service gives you access to your data at any internet connected device as well as allowing you to edit and interact with that data from those devices and updating the data such that all devices have access to the same data.
The difference between a cloud service and a traditional internet service is that a traditional service is more like a blog or streaming sight where you only consume. Its true that cloud services existed long before cloud computing became a buzz word but the concept of the cloud computing revolution is that more and more things will be in the cloud not just the fact that it exists.
I think the question about the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the cloud was genuinely designed to test penetration. It would be similar to asking what is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says notebook. Which I'm almost willing to bet the percentage of people thinking about notebooks as computers has gone down since smart phones and tablets have progressed.
Yep, the proof that most people don't have a clue. They don't even have a clue that the "jargon term" cloud is actually a term to simplify a concept to a point where it is basically almost meaningless.
In other words "cloud" is marketing, nothing more.
The term really just means you are using a system for storage and/or computing that is not "local". The old tired term for this is just server, but "server" wasn't cool enough for the the marketing folks so they created another term.
I have a "cloud" light switch too, the power that flows through it isn't local.
Then again that is the way it should be, lots of people don't have a clue how that light gets lit when they throw the switch, so you can use any term you like, just as long as people get the idea that switch means light, and cloud means storage or computing "out there".
if its not modeled yet to calculate the "Integral of all those droplets and flying-ices", it didn't means that we couldn't use a word to talk about such existing thing.
most of times your titles have a faulty that makes that interesting, but also out of scientific point of view.
but i always thinking: what makes those droplets and other "spreading" things to gathering in a cloud-shape cloud...why they couldn't stay scattered everywhere, and instead became gathering together?
It's important that people understand that 'the cloud' means putting stuff someplace where you can't directly control it, and where hackers seem to be increasingly be able to access it.
Online banking would seem to fit this definition. (And I do use it, but I try to monitor it for problems).
'The cloud' also refers to the latest trend of removing the actual software from our control, and having it reside in the cloud -- leaving us fairly helpless when we lose access to the net. We are also locked into whatever 'upgrades' the provider chooses to adopt.
What I'm trying to say is that it's important for folks to understand what the cloud actually is, so that they know what might be at risk when they use it.
Politian’s have spoken in cloudy terms, since the invention of the word Politian, ... Sad sigh.
Many people still don't know what the internet is. They know how to use it though, at least to some limited degree.
Email-Facebook-Video chat. That's what most people can do.
Just don't ask them to set up the webcam.
Salesmen's hype over sad, banal reality. You won't be storing your data at home anymore, but down thousands of miles of old copper telephone wires, fibre-optics and satellite links, in a shed in Bangladesh. What's that I hear you exclaim, the salesman said the company was based in Cambridge England (awfully proper don't you know!) Yeah, right...