Read an Excerpt
Computing as you know it is about to change: Your applications and documents are going to move from the desktop into the cloud.
I'm talking about cloud computing, where applications and files are hosted on a "cloud" consisting of thousands of computers and servers, all linked together and accessible via the Internet. With cloud computing, everything you do is now web based instead of being desktop based. You can access all your programs and documents from any computer that's connected to the Internet.
How will cloud computing change the way you work? For one thing, you're no longer tied to a single computer. You can take your work anywhere because it's always accessible via the web. In addition, cloud computing facilitates group collaboration, as all group members can access the same programs and documents from wherever they happen to be located.
Cloud computing might sound far-fetched, but chances are you're already using some cloud applications. If you're using a web-based email program, such as Gmail or Hotmail, you're computing in the cloud. If you're using a web-based application such as Google Calendar or Apple MobileMe, you're computing in the cloud. If you're using a file- or photo-sharing site, such as Flickr or Picasa Web Albums, you're computing in the cloud. It's the technology of the future, available to use today.
How does cloud computing work? What does cloud computing mean for the way you use a computer? What are the top cloud computing applications? Good questions all, and all answered in this book: Cloud Computing: Web-Based ApplicationsThat Change the Way You Work and Collaborate Online. I don't pretend to answer every question you may have (the overly technical ones in particular), but I do try to give you a good solid overview of the cloud computing phenomenon, and introduce you to some of the more popular cloud applicationsin particular, those that facilitate group collaboration.
And that's where cloud computing really shines. Whether you want to share photographs with family members, coordinate volunteers for a community organization, or manage a multifaceted project in a large organization, cloud computing can help you collaborate and communicate with other group members. You'll have a better idea of how this works after you read the book, but trust me on this oneif you need to collaborate, cloud computing is the way to do it.How This Book Is Organized
Cloud computing is actually a pretty simple concept, but one with lots of variations and ramifications. To help you better understand what cloud computing is and what it does, I've organized this book into four major parts:
Part I, "Understanding Cloud Computing," is the place for you to start learning about cloud computing. I explain how cloud computing works and examine which types of users can best benefit from this new technology.
Part II, "Cloud Computing for Everyone," examines the practical benefit of cloud computing for users in three different scenarios: in the family, in the community, and in the large organization.
Part III, "Using Cloud Services," is an overview of various types of web-based applications. You'll learn about cloud services for scheduling, contact management, project management, word processing, presentations, and other key applications.
Part IV, "Outside the Cloud: Other Ways to Collaborate Online," moves beyond strict cloud computing to examine other Internet-based tools for group collaboration, including web email, instant messaging, social networks, online groupware, blogs, and wikis.
Taken together, the 20 chapters in this book provide an excellent overview of cloud computing. If you're not sure what cloud computing is yet, you will be when you get done reading this book.Conventions Used in This Book
I hope that this book is easy enough to figure out on its own, without requiring its own instruction manual. As you read through the pages, however, it helps to know precisely how I've presented specific types of information.Web Page Addresses
There are a lot of web page addresses in this book. They're noted as such:
Technically, a web page address is supposed to start with http:// (as in http://www.molehillgroup.com). Because Internet Explorer and other web browsers automatically insert this piece of the address, however, you don't have to type itand I haven't included it in any of the addresses in this book.Cloud Services
I also list a lot of web-based applications and services in this book; after all, that's what cloud computing is all about. Know, however, that companies are constantly changing prices, coming out with new features, introducing completely new services, and discontinuing older ones. With that in mind, every service and URL listed in this book is valid as of June 2008; chances are, however, that something will change by the time you read the book.Special Elements
This book includes two special elements that provide additional information not included in the basic text. These elements are designed to supplement the text to make it your learning faster, easier, and more efficient.
In addition, I end each chapter with a sidebara chunk of text that goes beyond what is presented in the normal chapter text to provide additional information that may be of interest to you. I find these sidebars interesting but not necessarily essential; you may or may not feel the same.
Note - A note is designed to provide information that is generally useful but not specifically necessary for what you're doing at the moment.
Tip - A tip offers additional advice that might prove useful to the task at hand.
Let Me Know What You Think
Caution - A caution warns you of a particular situationbe alert to the warning!
I always love to hear from readers. If you want to contact me, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I can't promise that I'll answer every message, but I do promise to read each one!
If you want to learn more about me and any new books I have cooking, check out my Molehill Group website at http://www.molehillgroup.com. Who knowsyou might find some other books there that you'd like to read.
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.