Google has taken a jab at Microsoft by offering its Google Apps for Work suite for free to customers still under an enterprise agreement with another company. This move signals a possible attack by the Google cloud on traditional office application suites, most notably Microsoft Office.
Google stated in a blog post that it will waive Google Apps for Work fees until customers’ existing contracts expire, giving companies the opportunity to test out a new office suite without making a hard-line commitment to a new service. This new marketing program may prove detrimental to services like Microsoft Office, a very expensive software suite bound to a single device through product keys.
However, Microsoft has entered the cloud game as well with Office 365, a subscription-based service that lets users access the traditional Office package on any device from their online Microsoft accounts.
Thus, there may be a turning point in the history of cloud computing on the horizon, which makes us wonder: how will the rise of the cloud impact blockchain usage? The blockchain is arguably the epitome of cloud computing; the distributed ledger technology is broadcast to all its users through a decentralized network of nodes, all communicating with each other over the Internet. Therefore, anything that gets stored on a blockchain will truly live in the cloud forever — there are no central points of failure, so nothing can permanently destroy any blockchain.
The Blockchain: Cloud Computing Heaven
We have already gotten a taste of the blockchain’s cloud computing power with Storj, a company that uses the blockchain to create the ultimate decentralized cloud storage service. Anything stored on the blockchain through Storj is decentralized, encrypted, and totally secure through the company’s blockchain-based network. Just like with any cloud service, users can access their data on any device that has a Storj client, since all their data lives in the cloud.
Storj is just one example of the blockchain being implemented to create an ideal cloud experience. With blockchain technology, the cloud computing possibilities are endless. In theory, blockchains are capable of supporting any kind of cloud-based app in a totally decentralized fashion. Therefore, at some point in the future, we could even see decentralized alternatives to Google’s stellar lineup of cloud applications.
Not only could blockchain-based alternatives compete with Google’s cloud network, they could actually win. Conceptually, the blockchain can create more of a cloud than Google could ever dream of devising. The whole point of using cloud services is to have the ability to access data from any Internet-connected device, and to keep that data safe in the event of device failure. Google and Office 365 only partially accomplish these two goals. While users can access their data from anywhere with these services, and will be protected if their personal devices fail, what will happen to the data if Google or Microsoft fail? Both cloud services operate with central points of failure, making them less reliable than the blockchain potentially could be.
As of right now, the blockchain offers the only way to uphold these two tenets of cloud computing with near perfection. A user could access his or her data from any device with the proper blockchain-based client and that data remains in the cloud in the event of device failure — just like with Google. However, a blockchain-based cloud service differentiates itself from the likes of Google and Microsoft with its decentralization. With the blockchain, data floats around on a distributed network of nodes, while things kept with Google are simply stored on the company’s servers.
So, as Google probes at Microsoft’s office domination, it should be weary that the blockchain looms on the horizon. While Google’s cloud-based office suite will undoubtedly lower costs, and might even improve office efficiency, it is undeniable that the blockchain can do it so much better. Until the blockchain’s day comes, however, we will have to be satisfied with Google’s incremental innovations, which are of course revolutionary in their own right.
Do you think the blockchain will be able to revolutionize cloud computing? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Getty, Google, Storj