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. It’s not an operating system per se, but sure looks and acts like one, albeit one that works in the cloud, from any computer with internet access. Accessing your online computer is as easy as navigating to icloud.com in your web browser. When you do, log in, and your own desktop emerges, giving you access to your most frequently used files and applications. Application gadgets, such as clock, calendar, weather, can be stored in the sidebar to the right. And, like your regular local desktop, your start menu resides to the lower left.
iCloud offers and impressive list of applications, including tools for mail, instant messaging, photo organization, file exploring, music and video playing, writing, calendaring, contacting and gaming.
iCloud utilizes the same general functions for file storing, backing up and managing as local systems, making it comfortably familiar to use. The extra cool feature is automatic syncing via it’s “Easy Upload” system, which keeps your virtual files synced with your local files similar to Dropbox.
And here is the kicker – because it is Web-based, iCloud can leverage technologies that make managing your virtual “desktop” from your mobile device possible. The mobile app allows you to access your iCloud files, view documents, and upload photos directly from your mobile camera. With the iPhone version, you can directly share any file from the phone, and email the file with a link using the iPhone’s built-in email.
iCloud is actively seeking developers to create applications that can leverage iCloud’s tools and services, much like Dropbox’s app “store.” Check out some of the apps that are already in cahoots with iCloud here.
For free, you get 3gb of storage space. A 100 gb superdrive is available for $39.95 per year – not too shabby for cloud space plus virtual desktop and integrated apps.
Intrigued? I know I am. Offering a free version gives you and I the opportunity to check out iCloud with little commitment. If it is impressive as it sounds, the paid version is not a lot to shell out for a lot of functionality and virtual, cloud space. Thanks, iCloud!