Cloud computing is a big concept, offering all sorts of opportunities for businesses and communities, but what is cloud computing for you, personally? Well, it's a way for you to use all sorts of online applications to improve your everyday life.
Looking after your information
The central, unshakeable rule of preserving information is to make sure that you keep copies in several locations. Given that so much of our personal world is now in electronic form, backing up has become even more essential. When you consider how many important parts of your life are on your hard-drive – your past work, your records, your personal correspondence, your photos from memorable moments – well, nobody wants to find that all these have suddenly disappeared because of a sudden hardware failure. Not so long ago, the only way to copy your information was to put it on an external disk, but with the rise of file-storage sites in the cloud, you now have the ability to back up what is important to you by using services like Dropbox. At the same time, it's a convenient way not only to help preserve your personal electronic life, but also a useful system to share things with others.
Looking after your time
If you are the sort of individual who struggles to remember important dates, it is probably time to start keeping your calendar in the cloud. Online services like Google Calendar are mostly pretty simple to use, and will not only keep a record of your schedule that you can access almost anywhere, but, even more handily, will give you the ability to share calendars with friends, family, and colleagues as well. Like the best kinds of cloud technology, these online calendars can usually be configured to work with other systems, sending you reminders via email or SMS so that you will never again forget where you have to be and when.
Looking after your body
Sure, there are medical websites like WebMD that might help you understand what your options are when you do get sick, but perhaps just as important are the cloud applications that actually help you stay fit and healthy. Apps like Endomondo can be installed on smartphones or accessed through the web, and will track what kind of exercise you are doing and how much, helping you to reach fitness goals. Not only will you have records of your own sporting efforts, but these cloud fitness applications will allow you to try to beat your own past records and to connect with people you know for some friendly competition – all of which will make sure that you are keeping yourself as healthy as possible.
Looking after your mind
The cloud is essentially the best research tool humanity has ever created. You can find out facts and figures with a speed that has become second nature so quickly that we are already starting to take it for granted. It seems a waste not to take advantage of this amazing resource, since anyone can use the cloud to access all sorts of interesting educational material. For instance, you can learn something new about science, art or economics by watching one of the many TED talks online, or you can learn how to cook Japanese food from an instructional video, or you can brush up and practice other languages by chatting on forums. At the same time, there's room for your mind to be entertained as well as educated. In the cloud you can find the sort of creative short films that pop up on video sites like Vimeo, or you can discover countless varieties of old and new music from all around the world as cloud music streaming services develop and spread.
Through the ever-expanding cloud, our world is getting so much bigger every day. Take some time to see what you can find out there in the cloud for yourself.