Cloud Computing

It's all about space

The IBM Personal Computer was introduced in 1981. Initially all programs were run from a diskette or a cassette tape unit attached to the computer. Every diskette or tape contained, at most, a few programs. By 1983 the Hard Disk Drive or HDD came to the PC. Initially they were small; only around 5 million bytes, but big enough to hold all your programs. The modern HDD is huge by comparison, measured in gigabytes or terabytes. That's big enough to hold not only programs but data like pictures, sound or movies, but not big enough.


As the PC become more popular and indispensable to business, collaborative computing became popular. This requires a network, with client and server computers where many people can work on the same piece of data, like a book with multiple authors. The enhancements made to modern programs like Microsoft Word or Excel deal almost exclusively with collaboration extensions.

The Internet is represents the ultimate in both networks and collaboration. Nearly every computer on the planet is connected as is nearly every human. It was only natural for computing to move from the computer to the Internet.

The Cloud

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The Internet is usually represented in Computer Science textbooks as a cloud, with sites like Google, Yahoo or Computers4seniors shown as an oval within that cloud and users as computers attached to the cloud.

It was only natural to view the whole thing as a computing system distributed around the world. This is the origin of Cloud Computing. Programs and data can be in the cloud (Internet) or on your computer. You can buy Microsoft Office and put it on your computer for word processing and a spreadsheet or use them from your employer over the Internet. The point is someone has to purchase Microsoft Office. Along come data compatible programs like Open Office available for free download over the Internet. Programs like these use the Open Document data format developed by Sun Microsystems but based on Microsoft file formats. The important thing is that the data is the same. Open Office and Microsoft Office can open or create the same files. It doesn't really matter which program you use.


Along comes Google with an objective to do everything on the Internet. Google Docs uses the Open Document file formats established by Sun, but moves both the program and data to Google on the Internet. This is true Cloud Computing. The data and program is in the cloud. Your computer is needed only for input and displaying the results.

Google Docs

Google Docs, like the rest of Google is free. The first thing you need to do is establish an account at Google. Go to Google Docs and click on Get started.

Enter Your current email address. This will become your account name. Then Choose a password and re-enter same, then your Location. To make sure you are a human instead of an Internet Bot, you will be asked to enter a string of characters. Then click the I accept. Create my account. button at the bottom.

Google Account

And you will be taken to the Google Docs home page.The first thing we are going to do is upload a document we already have on out computer. This document file is Rainbow Bridge.doc and is located in th My Documents folder. We click on Upload in the blue navigation bar.

Google Docs

And we get the Upload a File menu where we click on the Browse.. button to search our computer. We locate Rainbow Bridge.doc file in the My Documents folder, highlight it and click the Upload File button. Upload a File

After a brief translation process the Rainbow Bridge document is moved to our Google account. All the buttons in the blue navigation bar look familiar because we are in Google Documents - just another word processor. We can edit it as we wish. When finished we click on the Save & Close button at the top.

Rainbow Bridge

We now have a Word document on Google. We can go through the same process and upload more documents, spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations.

Our Docs

Here we have uploaded our Word document, an Excel spreadsheet and a PowerPoint presentation to Google where we can share it with others or make it available to everyone. We are going to share it with the Instructor at the East Cobb Senior Center so we check the box next to Rainbow Bridge and click Share in the blue navigation bar and Invite people...

Our Docs

We want to allow the instructor at East Cobb to edit the document so we give To edit rights to and click Add without sending an invitation. The instructor at East Cobb can now edit Rainbow Bridge.

Share Docs