ON Thinkbeta.com, a blog for entreprenurial-related conversations, there is a short blog entry that defines cloud computing and talks about its practical implications.  One nice example that it mentions is Zimdesk, a free web based operating system that allows you to share access your desktop virtually whenever you have an internet connection.  If you are interested in this kind of thing, give it a try!

“The death of the Desktop”

by Michael V. Copeland

December 3, 2007

This blog entry raises a very important question that speaks to the heart of cloud computing. The paradigm in which we operate today feels as if most people have their digital identity primarily contained in a handful of websites. For people between the ages of 15-25, it is hard to argue that Facebook does not have some sort of a monopoly on the market for social content. For email, Gmail would like to make the same claim, but Hotmail and Yahoo Mail continue to serve as widely used and recognized platforms for web based email. Flickr (owned by Yahoo) is very popular for photographs, but many young people would probably say that they use Facebook for maintain their digital photography album’s on the web.

This article sheds light on a new firm that is banking on the future of computer users shifting over to the cloud. The company is an online storage firm called BOX.NET, from Palo Alto, CA, and is two years old. Their main concept is a program they have created, OpenBox, which has an open platform. The idea is that the user can store all kinds of digital content online that can be accessed by other web-based applications, rather than having to upload content from your pc each time you want to add something to a particular web-based application.

This service hinges upon a critical assumption: that the web-based applications (ie. Facebook) that its clients (ie. the person who stores data on box.net) intent to feed with content from its website will actually adopt its open platform to allow for the users to access the box.net content. Considering this scenario raises an interesting question: Will the future of cloud computing become another platform for a struggle between internet companies to try to force its users to choose between one and other, rather than allowing the user to easily share and exchange content between web-based applications?