Most major IT companies do it, Google does it, Amazon does it and Apple will be doing it. What am I talking about? I am talking about ‘The Cloud’ or what is more commonly known as ‘Cloud Computing’.
Cloud computing simply put, is working, searching, documenting and playing on the ‘Cloud’ aka the Internet. You do not have to spend lots of money on expensive software, a simple computer with decent, reliable Internet access will do and you will be ready to surf the Cloud.
As a Google Certified Teacher (GCT) I am going to concentrate on what Google has to offer in terms of Cloud Computing.
Let’s start with the basics. Google offers different packages depending on needs. For businesses, a package costing $50 per year per user will get you a personalized Google suite that will offer everything from email to websites. Companies such as Virgin America, Jaguar, Land Rover and National Geographic already use them. Educational Institutions are also eligible for this business plan but for them it is completely free. Arizona State University, University of Westminster, University of Notre Dame and of course the Hayah International Academy in Egypt, all run Google Apps Edu.
Most of our readers may not be businesses or educational institutions but don’t worry, there is something available for everyone. All you need is a normal Gmail account and you will have access to a vast array of resources at your fingertips.
I will only focus on a few of them.
Google Mail (Gmail):
With a standard Google Mail (Gmail) account every user will receive a minimum of 7 Gigabytes of email storage space, Calendar, Documents, Picasa (1 Gigabytes of Photo storage), Google sites and much more.
Work on documents together, at the same time, from anywhere and with anyone who has Internet access. Google documents come with the equivalent of PowerPoint (Presentation), Word (Document), Spreadsheet and Drawing.
Presentation, Document and Drawing allows 10 different collaborators to work on the same document at the same time and Spreadsheet allows 50 different collaborators.
You are able to upload existing documents or create new ones and download them later.
Different collaborators are also able to chat live with each other.
View and access multiple revisions and this means that work can never be overwritten ever again.
100 Megabyte of storage space
Create a live website without the knowledge of HTML language or learning any new software.
Invite others to work on the same site that you are working on.
Receive pages or site changes via email.
Integrate all your Google Documents into your Google Site
1 Gigabyte of free online photo storage
Share with friends or the world
Integrate with your Google Documents or Sites
So for expats living abroad who want the convenience of sharing with friends and family back home with one username and password, I would suggest Google App. Need further convincing? Well here it comes:
- Cross Platform, works on Windows, Apple Mac and Linux
- All browser friendly, will work on the browser of your choice
- One login for many services
- Automatic backup
- It’s FREE
There is a lot to cover in such a short article, so if you want to give it a try or want further help, please do not hesitate to contact me via my professional website or twitter listed below.