Thursday, April 9, 2009

Free Online Computer

A new dotcom has joined the "cloud computing" bandwagon and launched iCloud, a free online virtual computer. The virtual computer desktop runs completely on top of a web browser. So I guess its kinda like having a regular OS on a PC, running a web browser with another OS desktop running inside the browser. Kinda confusing, isn't it? I don't see much value in this other than the novelty of it.

The virtual OS desktop comes with a suite of 30 basic applications which let you share and create text, video and photo files online. The free registration entitles you to 3GB of space. Beyond that and you have to pay a monthly subscription already. The system has built-in Instant Messaging and news feeds.

What really caught my attention is that it is supposedly available in English, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish and Filipino! Why would a new OS want to support Filipino? I don't want to sound unpatriotic and all, but it just does not make commercial sense. They are better off supporting languages like Japanese, Korean or Thai because those countries have low English proficiency. But any Filipino who can operate a computer would already have a basic command of English. I mean, even the base OS which, most of the time is Windows, is based in English. So the fact that you can boot up your OS; run a browser; and go to a virtual desktop would mean that you can control a computer in English.

There also seems to be a way to develop apps for this virtual OS. I am not very optimistic that there will be a lot of developers banging on their doors to write apps though. Google's approach of implement a Microsoft Office-like environment (Google Docs) over a browser seem to make more sense.

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