Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Maybe Google Is Right

I've been thinking lately. Scary, I know, but bear with me. Anyone who has read my sporadically updated blog knows that I have taken up photography as a hobby. This, of course, has taken up a large chunk of free time during the weekend and as a result I have not been doing much else, such as write as often as I used to. Anyway, to the point. In taking pictures, even digital ones, a bit of developing must be done (more so with me due to my inexperience) and I have been making due with a trials of certain Adobe programs to get by. Looking at the cost of the full programs I've been using has been a bit of a letdown. Realistically, the purchase of a $500 program is just not in my budget and won't be for a very long time-if ever. Then I remembered the cloud.

The cloud? Now what could I be talking about here? So, what do clouds have to do with computer programs? A lot. See, the cloud I'm talking about is the internet version, not the one you see above your head in the sky. Basically, what I'm getting at is that programs don't have to follow the old tried and true method of use. Typically what we do is purchase a program and install it on a hard drive for use. The difference between programs accessible online and the traditional model is that you don't have to download a program to use it. Both Microsoft and Google are investing heavily in this business model, and they may be on to something. I didn't see the potential a few months ago, but I can see the possibilities now.

Take Photoshop for example: The program itself costs anywhere from $700 to $1000 to buy, depending on the version. Unfortunately, that is way out of budget for me and many others. Using the cloud model, what if Adobe instead decided to make a version of Photoshop that is usable in a browser window? Of course it wouldn't be free, but it could cost a lot less. Bottom line what this means is that Adobe can expand its user base by charging for access by means of a monthly fee for a version of the program that may not be as full featured as what is available in a store. For those that can't afford the full program, this model will allow some access and is an affordable option for many enthusiasts that would have no access to Photoshop's tools ordinarily.

I get it now. I see why companies are interested in cloud computing. This could be good for everyone, as long as the fees for online access are affordable. The point to remember is that if the fees are too high customers won't pay and that defeats the purpose of this model. If the fees are not affordable what would be the point?

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