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Is Cloud Computing The Future in SA?

Posted by: Brett The Rockstar

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Brett The Rockstar

As Google gets ready to launch their Cloud Computing OS (Google Chrome OS) they've got people talking about the new buzz word: Cloud Computing.

For those of you who don't know what cloud computing is, here is an explanation: Cloud computing is basically where files and other stuff on your PC can be stored "on the internet" (obviously there is actually a more technically specific definition, but I'm trying to keep as simple as possible). An example of cloud computing software is Dropbox, where you can store personal files "on the internet" and then access from any computer with Dropbox and an internet connection.

So what does this mean on the Google Cloud Computing OS? Basically all the files that would be stored on your hard drive are stored on the internet or "the Cloud", this includes all software and any media you store. Basically you go start up your computer, get an internet connection and then you can go about doing whatever it is that you do on your computer.

However there is a big problem with this way of computing, especially in South Africa. You need an internet connection to access all your software and files. While this is fine for home use where you usually have a permanent internet connection, considering that the OS is launching on a laptop, this poses problems. In South Africa where an internet connection is not readily available anywhere, to anyone, the problem is that most of the time when you're mobile you won't be able to access your files or software. Although the growing popularity of 3G internet in SA could solve this, it's costing you money (or precious cap) just to do stuff on your laptop that you could do offline on a normal laptop (with Windows, Mac OS or Linux, whatever floats your boat). But then you say: "well just connect to wifi hotspots", but you forget that most restaurants (or any other place offering wifi) charge you for using their wifi.  

But there is hope for the Google Cloud Computing OS in SA. SA is beginning to emerge into a techno strong country and as internet gets cheaper, wifi coverages get bigger and access to the internet is becoming more readily available in SA, Google's OS may just have a chance (however these improvements in infrastructure are still a few years away).

Personally, I am a keep all my stuff on a hardrive man, a Cloud Computing OS doesn't really appeal to me. The issues talked about above and security issues (like just who else has access to my stuff while it's on the internet?) are definitely a big concern for me. The success of Google's new OS in SA is hard to predict and we'll have to just wait and see how it goes, you never know... 

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