Talking tech since 2003

Over the last few years, we have seen a gradual but definite transition from desktop-based applications to services that we access on the Internet, usually by means of a modern web browser.  This concept, known as “cloud computing” is awesome because it allows for users and organizations to work more productively by centrally managing their files and information in order to ensure ease of access and collaboration.  While cloud-based computing used to refer to server systems that were managed by an organizations IT department, more and more businesses and individuals are beginning to migrate themselves over to outsourced servers and services that take the frustration out of managing their information; ultimately allowing for users to focus on their actual work instead of the infrastructure.

However, as great as the cloud is, there is one big problem standing in the way of its growth: transitioning users.  Think of all of the items and possessions you have in your home.  Now think about the effort it would take to move all of those items to a new home.  That would be a lot of work, right?  Well, that’s exactly the same issue we’re seeing with cloud computing.  Users have been working with desktop-based applications for so many years that replacing them with “cloud” applications is simply unfathomable; not because of the applications themselves, but the user-generated data that goes along with them.  Perhaps one of the best examples of this concept is the Microsoft Office productivity suite, which users have used for a great many years.

In order to help combat this issue, Internet giant Google is now working on a tool – dubbed “Cloud Connect” – that will help users migrate themselves from desktop-based solutions such as Microsoft Office to Google services such as Google Docs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; just another data transfer tool? And to an extent, you would be right.  There already are a number of options and methods for uploading and transferring documents to services such as Google Docs.  However, this solution that Google is expected to announce next week not only helps to move data, but helps with the transitional process as well.

You see, the Cloud Connect is expected to move documents and files over to Google Docs while allowing users to continue accessing them via Microsoft Office.  Personally, I think that this method will be ideal because it will make documents available on “the cloud” whenever a user needs them, but will not interrupt the workflow that already exists during the transition process and will not sacrifice productivity.  With this in mind, I honestly think that users will be more willing to give services such as Google Docs a standing chance simply because they will be able to use them without forcing them to use their web browsers.

However, I think the biggest entity to gain from this will end up being businesses and organizations who will be able to eliminate some of their IT infrastructure in favor for a more widely supported and connected Google Docs system.  By outsourcing this aspect of IT, larger businesses have the potential to save significant amounts of money, all whilst delivering what has the potential to be a more robust and collaborative system.

For Google, I think this is a wise move because it will gradually help to move businesses and users over to Google Docs and will in the long run help to make ChromeOS – the web-driven operating system that Google has been working on for the last couple of years – a much more practical and attractive solution down the road.

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