Welcome!

Release Management Authors: David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Not Quite Ready to Live in the Cloud

Google’s impressive Chromebook Pixel - the latest in a series of devices which are trying to entice users to compute differently

Google’s impressive Chromebook Pixel is just the latest in a series of devices which are trying to entice users to compute in a different way. With (almost) ubiquitous connectivity, and an increasing reliance upon web-based services for mail, calendars, document creation and more, might we be reaching a point at which the browser really can be our means of accessing everything? Philosophically, the idea resonates. And yet, although I am not a power user who needs to regularly process video or edit high resolution images (the usual excuses for not embracing the Chromebook vision), I still remain uncomfortable with giving up my non-browser tools. Despite living and working in the cloud, I find that locally installed client software continues to deliver real value. Maybe, the next time I upgrade a computer, I need to try installing nothing more than a browser for a week or two, and see if it’s as painful as I feel it could be…

The cloud powers my business. The cloud is what I talk to clients about, it’s what I write about, it’s what people pay me to know about. The cloud (and, more generally, the web) make it possible for me to work with clients around the world, often without leaving a small market town in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Every piece of software I buy, install and use (except Microsoft Office, which I do still have to endure from time to time) is little more than a window onto the cloud. Most of those software tools have a web interface that I could use. Even tools which don’t (like OmniFocus) have competitors that do. So in principle I could do pretty well all of my mainstream tasks in a web browser. But I don’t. And I’m not yet sure that I want to.

chromebook-pixelOn one level, mainstays of my working day like Evernote, Reeder and Dropbox exist to ensure that the content I want is available on whichever device I’m using, whenever I need it. Desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile phone all access the same shared pool of content, banishing the old world in which either everything travelled on a USB stick or (more likely) the document you wanted was on your other device. Both Evernote and Dropbox (and other tools I use) have decent web interfaces. I could just use those, and (provided there’s a network connection) realise the same basic benefit of access to documents and data. But the desktop clients (and mobile apps) bring a degree of polish to the user experience that – to me – still seems to add real value. If nothing else, local caching makes them quicker. Indeed, Reeder is really just a local window onto a web-based service (the soon-to-die Google Reader). That dependency creates an interesting challenge for Reeder’s creator, following Google’s decision to shut down their service.

For email, calendaring and basic document creation, however, I’ve fully embraced the browser-based experience. Google Apps, running inside Chrome, with a few core extensions such as Rapportive. Here, locally installed software no longer adds any value for me. Blogging, too, mostly happens inside a WordPress editor these days. Offline editors like MarsEdit, although good, now languish unused on my hard drive. The boring financial side of my business is also entirely on the web, with everything handled on my bank’s web site or within FreeAgent‘s web-based tool.

And then there’s Skype. With no sign of Google Voice in Europe, Skype remains the mainstay for voice and video communication. And it only works if you’ve downloaded and installed the software. It would be difficult to rely upon a device which wouldn’t let me use Skype.

It’s certainly possible to do almost everything without locally installing any software, and that’s a remarkable step forward. But it’s really not clear that the web-only experience is good enough (yet) for people to embrace it by choice. Thin clients (like the Chromebook) may be cheaper than their Windows and OS X-powered equivalents, especially if sales volumes grow. They may be easier to manage, which must appeal to enterprise IT managers. But would an individual choose to buy one, except to save themselves a bit of money? Not yet, I suspect.

I’ve moved entirely from local email, calendar and blog clients to the web. I’ve moved mostly from local word processing to the web. How long will it be until the web interface for other services becomes our first choice, rather than a useful backup in those situations where you’re borrowing someone else’s computer? It will be interesting to see… The Chromebook (both the eye-wateringly expensive Pixel and cheaper variants) offers an interesting illustration of future potential. With the current state of web tools, though, today’s Chromebooks cannot be more than a niche play. It will not be many years before that changes, and light, fast, cheap, well-connected devices with great batteries become a valid choice for the majority of users in need of a device that isn’t a tablet or a smartphone.

Image © Google.

More Stories By Paul Miller

Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...