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The Cloud And The Pocket

In recent months and years, I have heard an increasing number of people putting forward opinions that "in the future, nobody will have local data, everyone will have all his/her data in the cloud".
Now, I don't think this extreme will really be reached, I'd even go as far as to believe we'll have most or all of our data and probably a good part of our computing power in our pocket instead.

Right now, the primary argument for putting things into the cloud is that people want to use their data from different desktops, maybe their smartphone, possibly some tablet, and all those have web access, so the cloud can be accessed from all those machines, and the same way. Of course, that only works really well when you're on broadband. Still, this is nice to have, and who cares about the cloud provider reading your data for better ad placements and selling data to third parties anyhow. You are on Facebook as well, right? OK, so why should you care about your data being sold or analyzed for better ads in one more place? After all, it wins you a lot of comfort, and that's what counts.

Let's assume for a moment that those problems are all moot. And the problem that there are places where your phone or tablet doesn't get any or only a bad connection, intentionally or unintentionally, be in in some deep basement bar (like the one I'm going to frequently) or far out in the US country, in deep valleys or up on mountains, where it's too expensive to put transmitting stations for phone providers because of too few people or too many reflections and too little direct reach. Let's ignore all that for the moment. Let's also ignore that your cloud provider could just go bankrupt or stop its services for other reasons.

I still think a different model of data storage will feel better for most people once all parts of the concept are there - which will not be the case in 2010, probably more in 2015 or 2020.

Imagine your smartphone, lets say some neat package similar to the current iPhone or N900, basically a small screen which not much else, possibly a mini-keyboard if you like, will have as much computing power and more storage space than a current desktop (which, given what we've seen in the last 10 years, is not unrealistic). Imagine you could have tablet-like screen rolled up in your backpack and put up to a normal tablet screen within a few seconds, and you smartphone would just connect to that and act as the processing and data unit for it. Also, imagine that instead of a desktop, you would have just a large screen on your desktop, along with whatever input devices will be your choice (currently probably keyboard and mouse for most people, but who knows what we'll have then) - and your smartphone will seamlessly connect to that and act as data unit and possibly processor, perhaps in cooperation with some stronger processor unit integrated with the big screen or some other extension device on your desk. Even more, imagine that in cafes or on airports, there will be such computing stations you can seamlessly connect your smartphone, er mobile computer, to.

Now, having your data and processing power in your pocket, using the same software across all those machines, be it an OS, web browser, web app, local app, hybrid, or whatever, why again would you want to store all your data in the cloud?

Sure, there are still reasons, like sharing with others, where the cloud can be helpful, and you sure will want your mobile data to be synchronized with those parts of cloud data. The cloud surely has its good use cases, even in that possible future, but I don't think most people will want to have all their data and their private stuff all up there, esp. when they can and will have it in their pockets and just as ubiquitous instead.

And I doubt the connection to the cloud will ever in near decades satisfy the speed we'd want to edit our videos in the quality we really want to achieve. ;-)

Still, the pocket devices I imagine and all that infrastructure around it will need some time to come into existence (nothing of that sounds really impossible even today, though), so there will be some time where the cloud can continue to shoot ahead in the uses cases of oneself having access to the data everywhere - but I'm looking forward to the pocket taking its bold steps into a quite interesting future!

Entry written by KaiRo and posted on August 15th, 2010 23:26 | Tags: Cloud, future, Internet, mobile, storage | 2 comments | TrackBack

Comments

AuthorEntry

skierpage

quote
Read/watch Eben Moglen's "Freedom in the Cloud"
"The cloud" is bad if it only connects you to centralized servers. But pocket devices and home routers are already powerful enough to act as servers sharing your social info directly with your friends.

Eben Moglen's talk on this is fantastic, I hope Diaspora and other open-source efforts deliver the vision. http://www.softwarefreedom.org/events/2010/isoc-ny/FreedomInTheCloud-transcript.html , or watch the video. Firefox and SeaMonkey need to become integrators of your local information and what your friends share with you, rather than just flashy clients of Facebook and Google's server infrastructure.
2010-08-18 01:28

Keith

from the US

quote
I'd argue that sharing every bit of information you produce is very different than selecting the data you're comfortable sharing with others on Facebook.
2010-08-24 17:45

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