Web operating systems and the cloud

I blogged – a long time ago – about the use of web-based operating systems that patrons of public Internet access spots (such as libraries) could use. Things have changed since then. Most have been eclipsed by services like Dropbox – which requires you to have a computer to store stuff on, unlike the cloud-based web OS’s I’ve talked about. One web-based OS that has caught my attention, though, is iCloud. It offers a mobile site, iOS and Android apps and features easy uploading of files in exactly the same manner as Dropbox – but to your cloud-based computer, not a physical one.

This all seems very cool and is something worth taking a look at – the free version gives you 3GB of storage, but you can buy more, of course, and the apps appear to be free (at least the iOS one is). This may very well allow patrons who have iPhones or Android phones but no computer at home to do all kinds of very cool computing tasks from their phones – then come into the library to print and manage things that might be a bit difficult to do on a phone.

5 responses to “Web operating systems and the cloud

  1. iCloud sound like a great service, but are there a large number of patrons who own iPhone or Android phones but don’t have a computer at home?

  2. Robin Hastings

    We get quite a few people in our public computer center who have smartphones but no computer and need to use our machines to activate them or to load them up with media – there seem to be enough to consider this sort of thing to be useful to at least a subset of our population!

  3. Just had a conversation with a local librarian here in Sweden. She said that her patrons regularly forget and leave behind their USB sticks and then get upset when they get lost. She plans to start recommending a web operating system like icloud to her patrons.

    You’re right. All icloud apps are free. (iPhone app, Android app, Easy Upload) For those patrons with a different type of smartphone, they can access icloud through their browser at http://www.icloud.com/m/

  4. Robin Hastings

    Thanks for the extra information! I’m not sure how I would manage without Dropbox and/or Evernote, but neither of those are meant for use without a “base” computer. I love the idea of web-based Operating Systems for people who have access to the Internet, but not necessarily a computer – that will become more common, I do believe!

  5. You’re welcome Robin! Yes, it’s really nice that one does not necessarily need a computer to utilize icloud.

    However, if you do own a computer and use multiple computers in your daily life, icloud’s Easy Upload app keeps your files uploaded, backedup and synced across your computers automatically.

    As Martha Perry said, “”You can go sort of cloud by using cool tools like Dropbox and Gmail. Or you can REALLY go cloud and move your entire desktop up there. If that concept intrigues you, check out iCloud – a virtual computer on the Web.” http://advocatesstudio.com/2011/01/13/icloud-is-your-cloud/

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