Thursday, April 9, 2009

iCloud - OS/Desktop In The Cloud?

According to the post on, first desktop in the cloud has been launched. iCloud allows users to have free online storage (upto 3GB free), applications, virtual desktop and backup.

It provides you with 30 free applications and at this moment, supports only IE and Firefox.

Does this service make sense?

iCloud gives you a whole host of options including a command line console. It also manages internet outage, which they explain in their Q & A section:

... if no Internet connection is available when attempting to save or perform changes to a document, icloud will simply store all changes in a transaction buffer that will be sent and synchronized to the data center once an Internet connection has been re-established.

In my first trial, after playing around for 5-10 mins, my IE crashed (which I can probably attribute to Microsoft), but my in subsequent trials, iCloud/IE refused show me a desktop. Firefox was no exception. It got stuck after using for 5 mins. I had to kill Firefox process to get my other applications work. Having encountered this scenario, I want to point out few things:

- iCloud has to evaluate providing an alternate provision to access the data in case the browser or iCloud desktop does not show up. Uptime of the service is very critical.

- Customization options to make the desktop lighter to a level which a user wants to use will become essential from a user experience perspective.

- After 8 years of development, even if it is an Alpha release, I would expect the application to be relatively fast, but it failed my expectation.

I think is a revolution in the making and I hope their beta release focuses more on performance and reliability more than functionalities. Also, there is massive amount of data going to be stored in the cloud once the user community starts using this application more. It's probably time that they also start thinking about monetization model.

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