Have you heard about cloud computing? (I ask somewhat ironically, as I am composing the first draft of this post on Google Documents.) It’s one of the latest buzz words in computing. Think of those cute little netbook portable computers you’re seeing: they don’t have a very large hard drive (by today’s standards) because they rely on access to the Internet for their most advanced applications. Carry your computer everywhere and access everything you need via wi-fi.
In theory it’s not a bad idea. Indeed, it works for many people–somewhere between a smartphone and a laptop in size, portable, able to access your e-mail, social networks, and almost any other Internet application from anywhere. And when you want a larger screen or a full-size keyboard, access the same sites from a desktop or laptop computer. Everything exists in the “cloud” of servers and services that make up the Internet.
Having any qualms yet? I did. Sure, e-mail requires the Internet–it can’t exist on a stand-alone computer. And I have no problem with drafts for my blog or class paper living on Google Docs. But don’t tell me to put my financial records online.