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1/30/2009
04:53 PM
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There's Money Up In Them Thar Clouds

There's lots of buzz about the Google cloud storage solution -- the GDrive -- as references to it continue to pop up in various programs. When it arrives, will consumers rush to give up their data to the ether?

There's lots of buzz about the Google cloud storage solution -- the GDrive -- as references to it continue to pop up in various programs. When it arrives, will consumers rush to give up their data to the ether?People have been doing it with money for generations now. Banks are geophysical loci for the financial cloud, right? For that matter, paper money is a stand-in for actual assets with value (gold, silver, or the presumption that someone will assign the value designated on the bill). Credit cards represent dollars and cents that emerge from transactions, and then float somewhere between service-providers in a process that consumers couldn't explain.

Few people (Ron Paul supporters aside) seem to have issues with the financial cloud. But I bet consumers will have problems giving up their data.

Perhaps it's the personal nature of the stuff: family photos, letters, work things. They're labeled with something approximating natural language. In the analog world, these are the things that got stored in shoeboxes on shelves, or manila folders in file cabinets. I don't think people fully realize that the digital versions have been obliterated, and then transformed into binary codes that are stored as the ghost remnants of an electron haze.

"Photos" are "on the computer." And if you're going to try to explain to me why that's not necessarily accurate, you might as well tell me something really crazy, like how time can slow down if you go fast, or something.

Cloud computing is coming, but it's going to take more than availability (or simplicity, ubiquity, or even low cost) to get the rank-and-file consumer to leap into it. You might think it's a no-brainer, but I'm thinking it's going to raise a whole lot of questions for regular folks.

Maybe drawing the parallels to how we handle/store money will help? All of us already use the $Drive.

Jonathan Salem Baskin writes the Dim Bulb blog and is the author of Branding Only Works On Cattle.

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