The cloud already powers many popular consumer applications — Facebook and Flickr, for instance. But 2012 has seen amazing growth in the area of consumer-targeted cloud-based services such as categories of storage, sync, and notes, as observed by Richard McManus of ReadWriteWeb.com.
McManus highlights the three main categories of consumer-geared, cloud-based applications, online storage, online synchronization (sync), and online notes. McManus goes on to explore the top brands in each category; Dropbox for storage, Apple’s iCloud for sync, and Evernote for online notes.
Dropbox is an online file sharing system that allows you to make your files and content accessible from almost anywhere. The service was originally designed for users tired of e-mailing files to themselves and carrying around flash drives. Dropbox has revolutionized the storage and sharing of files. Share photos with distant family members. Send a client that enormous presentation quickly and easily. That’s the power of Dropbox.
Apple’s iCloud is a file synchronization service that lets consumers sync their calendars, music, photos, contacts, and other files across all their devices. While the service does allow limited compatibility with Microsoft Windows machines, it’s excellent for Mac-centric users with iOS devices. That said, it’s still the top of its class.
Evernote is a suite of software tools designed for notetaking, archiving and storage. There are apps for your smartphone, PC, even for your tablet, so you can organize receipts, shopping lists, to-do lists, make note of articles you want to read, save photos – almost anything you’d write down in a notebook or paste into a scrapbook, you can now post to Evernote.
Most recently, Evernote added Evernote Hello, a free app that turns your contacts into a database. Within that database, users can store photos to more easily remember whose face goes with which name. It creates a “browsable history of individuals, encounters, and shared experiences,” according to Evernote.
The common theme here is that cloud computing has reached the consumer market in a big way, McManus said. If you’re not using Dropbox, Evernote and iCloud (or, truthfully, any of their competitors), you are missing out on hassle-free online storage, a totally new way to organize your notes, and easy content sync. It’s 2012, welcome to the Consumer Cloud era.
By Sharon Florentine
Sharon Florentine is a freelance writer who covers everything from data center technology to holistic veterinary care and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.