Thursday, March 31, 2011

Amazon Cloud Drive and Player - Cloud Computing in Action

In my previous post I had written how Google has used Cloud Computing for its new offering Google Cloud Print. Not to be left behind, Amazon has come-up with its own Cloud Computing based offering viz. Amazon Cloud Player and Amazon Cloud Drive.

Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon Cloud Drive can be seen as your hard disk in the cloud. As soon as you will make a account in it you will get a 5 GB of free storage space. You can use it to store anything you want... from documents, photos, music, files, presentations... anything ! This all is on-line, so you can access the Amazon Cloud Drive anywhere in the world and at any time. You can access it from your browser having internet connection. Also Amazon Cloud Drive is secure and rest assured all your data will safe and secure at all times. Access to your Cloud Drive is controlled through your user ID and password. All communications are encrypted using HTTPS, so that your data can pass securely over the Internet.

Back to space available in Amazon Cloud Drive. For starters 5 GB is free, also if you purchase an album from the Amazon MP3 Store, you may be eligible for a free upgrade to 20 GB of Cloud Drive space for one year (this promotion is open to U.S. customers only currently). If you need more storage space, paid plans are available for storage up to 1,000 GB !

Amazon Cloud Player

This is a service build over the Amazon Cloud Drive. This enables the users of Amazon Cloud Player to listen and enjoy music anywhere and at any-time. Amazon Cloud Player streams the music content from the Amazon Cloud Drive to the respective browser. They are available for both web and android based devices. Both Cloud Players for Web and Android feature a 'Save to Amazon Cloud Drive' button, which lets you transfer your personal music collection to the Amazon Cloud Drive.

Both Android and Web based Cloud Players let users upload music, create playlists, organise content and also download music uploaded to their collection. Google and Apple are also working on their cloud based streaming players for their respective platforms (Android and iOS), but Amazon has clearly beaten them to it.

This feature of Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player in real is Cloud Computing in Action. This is just the beginning and more and more innovative ideas are yet to come.

For more about Amazon Cloud Drive read this article. For more on Amazon Cloud Player read this article.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Google Cloud Print - Cloud Computing in action

Many a times we are faced with the situation where we have to take a print-out of our document but we do not have access to the printer or its drivers are not available. Currently we rely heavily on the device specific hardware and their associated drivers for accessing and taking print-outs from a printer. To overcome this problem Google has come up with another innovative and unique feature viz. Google Cloud Print. Google introduced Cloud Print in April 2010 and since then it has been in limelight. Google Cloud Print reached beta stage on 25 January 2011. Also read my another article on another Cloud Computing offering from Google : Google Cloud Connect.

The idea behind Google Cloud Print is to harness the Cloud Computing for making printing driver free across the globe. One just needs Google Chrome browser installed on the machine to use this feature. Applications can print through a web-based, common print dialog (web UI) or an API. The service then forward the job to the printer registered prior to the service. A new kind of printer will be able to directly connect to Google Cloud Print, current printers will have to connect through a proxy server. As current printers cannot print to a cloud service, Google Chrome 9 contains a "Cloud Print Connector" – the user will only be able to use Cloud Print while the connector is running. Not only this we can also use this with the smart phones and hand-held devices. This will open up new arenas where one can use the Cloud Computing to harness the maximum benefit with minimum investment on a large scale. And Google Cloud Print is a step in this direction.

To enable and install Google Cloud Print you should have Google Chrome 9 or higher version installed in your system. In the Settings menu go to "Options" tab and then select "Under the Bonnet". Here you will see the option to enable Google Cloud Print.
Select the "Options" menu.

Here select the option "Sign in to Google Cloud Print".

A Pop-up would be there asking for a sign in to your Google Account to access this service.

On successful sign-in you would get the following conformation pop-up.

To manage and see the printers avaliable choose "Manage Print Setting..." option

You will now see the following screen where you can see the pending and completed printing jobs and the printers available in your network.

Google Cloud Print is still in continuous improvement phase and soon in coming months we would see a more robust and reliable version of it that would suite each OS, printers and devices.

For more readings refer the Google Labs link for Google Cloud Print. Also for any further reading about the Google Cloud Print and the FAQ refer Google Cloud Print Help.

Also read my another article on Google Cloud Connect.


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