The inter-connectivity of the web is taking on a new face through the extensive adoption of cloud computing services.
In the old days of the internet, relatively few people had the resources needed to build websites. One could host a site locally from servers in their home, but hard drive space was much more expensive– even just 10 years ago. This method was usually only employed by the exceedingly ambitious and tech-savy pioneers of web design.
The other option was to host on one of the early services that provided relatively few options compared to modern offerings. (Anyone remember GeoCities??)
Cloud computing has been slowly shifting the landscape over the years… at least it has seemed that way. However, in actuality, the commercial aspect of the internet has mostly developed in less than 20 years! That’s a very short period of time for a technology that essentially changed the world.
This cloud computing technology is having a major impact on how we design and host websites. The key to these changes lies in the widespread availability of high speed internet connections. Even though large amounts of data are being stored in an ever-shrinking amount of space (thanks to Moore’s law), we would have no use for these data warehouses unless the information could be transmitted in a timely fashion.
The progression from dial-up to DSL and cable/ fiber optic technologies has managed to keep sufficient pace with Moore’s law. And although the world will soon be demanding even faster transmission speeds, current rates have allowed humans to create a monstrous web of videos, music and information through cloud computing technology. You can read more about trends in cloud computing here.
Services like GoDaddy and WordPress have made web design available to almost anyone with an internet connection and a device that connects to it. These companies provide massive amounts of hosting in the cloud for little or zero cost to users.
Furthermore, the power of the computer, pad or laptop you use to connect to the internet barely matters! The extensive network of cloud computing technologies now allows you create websites without storing anything locally. You can usually add pictures and videos to your website by simply entering the URL– something that can even be done via a simple mobile phone.
While these changes have gone unacknowledged by the general public, they are surely among the most important developments in all of human history. In 20 years we’ve created something that truly amounts to a “web” of information. Google has recently announced the development of GoogleFiber, which is said to offer internet speeds 100 times faster than current broadband.
What will we do with such speeds? What technologies will humanity choose to develop?
But most importantly, what will we choose to do with these cloud computing technologies?
…And what kind of reality will they bring us to?