If you haven’t heard of cloud computing, where have you been?
Seriously, not many people know about this, and those who do are quite confused about it. For good reason that I will get to in a moment.
But there’s a service I came across that seems like a good way to get those business cards thrust at you at a recent conference or event saved on a remote server to be accessible anywhere. It’s called Cloud Contacts.
Sounds a nifty thing, since you ship them a stack of cards ina prepaid envelope, they scan it and save it in formats that you can suck into Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook. Except that it strikes me as a pricey way to go ($29.95 for 100 cards, $69.95 for 300) considering that (a) you could type that information yourself on a plane, say, or pay someone to do it if you’re that lazy (b) You could buy yourself a card reader for the price of getting them to scan 500 business cards.
For all its geekiness, cloud computing at its basic level is nothing flashy or new. If you have a Yahoo or Gmail account, all your saved email, your contacts and folders exist in the cloud, so to speak. If you save your files to an online storage service like Dropboks.com, those files are basically in another cloud. Heck, your Facebook profile exists in a cloud as does your Plaxo contacts. To me it’s another name for what has become the third place where we work — after the PC and the mobile device.
And because it is so many things we know of and didn’t realize –there are many more dimensions to it — it confuses us.
Listen to the leading tech folk describe it here with more gravitas.