Cloud Applications – Online Software You Can Use Today
The online cloud. It’s a word used quite often in today’s marketing and techno-geek talk, but not so well understood. Everywhere you look it seems someone is using the cloud; I certainly am using it, both in my business marketing and as a tool for my clients. It’s becoming more and more common, and even if you don’t know it, you are using the cloud. Don’t believe me? Have you ever uploaded a picture to facebook? Then you’ve used the cloud. Do you check your email using Google’s gmail? There’s an even more powerful example of cloud computing. Backups services, online storage devices, and online software all use the cloud.
Cloud Applications – Software as a Service
I bet you’ve heard of Photoshop and Gimp – but did you know there are online image editor that doesn’t require a download or an installation? If you are looking for a quick and easy way to do minor edits to an image, there’s no need to purchase a full program for your editing needs. Simply search for “online image editor” to be presented with dozens of free and easy online image editors.
Put in simple terms, the cloud is what you use when you are on the internet doing anything interactive with a site, other than just viewing content. In this post, I will explore some useful applications ‘in the cloud’ that don’t require a download or installation on your machine.
Image Editor – Pixlr
This is one of the most comprehensive image editors online. From simple cropping, image resizing, and color adjustment, to layers, swatches, paintbrushes, and other advanced tools, this tool rivals the best out there. Choose to edit a picture that you upload from your computer or from elsewhere on the web. Once you are done editing, you can save it in their online storage system (the cloud storage) or download it to your local computer. This is very useful if you are on a computer you are not familiar with.
Sound Editor – Aviary’s Myna
Import your own tracks or record new tracks, and layer them how you see fit. Adjust levels, tempos, transitions, and add a number of audio effects. They have a nice library of sound bytes and clips for you to play with. Once you are done, you can download the entire track to your computer. Check out this demo, it shows you some of the features Myna offers.
Webcam Software – Record Video with FotoFriend
Cloud software for using your webcam is already on a number of websites, such as Facebook. But what if you don’t want to share what you’ve recorded with everyone, you just want it for yourself? FotoFriend has a simple video recorder, where you can record up to 3 minutes in high quality. For a simpler, image only tool, try Cameroid. Note that you will need to accept a dialog asking permission to access your webcam and microphone.
Antivirus Security Scan – Norton Online Scan
Since 2005, I have not had a commercial antivirus software installed on my computer. I am careful of what I click and run on my machine, and since ditching the antivirus I haven’t had a serious infection. To be safe, I run Norton’s security scan once in a while. After clicking the link above, click “continue to Symantec security check,” and then choose to start either the security or the virus scan.
Word Processing – Google Apps’ Documents
Everyone should know about this one. Although not as powerful as a desktop client such as Microsoft Word, Google is making very quick work of getting their online word processor up to par with the desktop competitors. Try it out, you will love the fact that when you save a document, you can access it again anywhere else you have an internet connection, even your mobile device!
Online Storage – DropBox
I’m sure you’ve at least heard of dropbox. Did you know it’s considered a cloud application? That’s because the files you store with dropbox are saved on their servers somewhere in the world, and you can access them again anywhere you need to. I find it useful when sharing important files between my work and personal computers.
These examples are just the beginning of cloud applications. If an application is not yet available as an online service, give it some time. Soon in the future, I predict personal computers will not need any software other than an internet connection and a web browser. Cloud applications make sharing & storing data so much simpler, it is inevitable that soon our entire computing lives will be in the cloud.