My first brush with cloud computing was in the form of Google Docs. It’s a convenient tool for creating, sharing and editing documents. Every so often, when I am working on an article, I upload it to Google Docs to make it accessible at all times. All I need to do is make the changes I want, save it, and share it with anyone if I need their opinion on it. I just thought of it as a very convenient new way to go about my work even on a computer that does not have Microsoft Office installed on it. I didn’t know, or need to know, that there was anything revolutionary about what I was doing.

Cloud computing involves delivering a service over the Internet. Individuals and organizations can use their own private clouds. But we're interested in the public cloud, which is for users like you and me, with applications and storage available for free or by subscription.

These are now becoming popular due to the spread of sites like Facebook, Twitter and Orkut. You update your status or upload pictures, and they’re shared with everybody in your network. These sites are essentially applications that you can access from anywhere – one of the principles of cloud computing, and they are immensely popular, even if people never stop to think about it.