If the sky fell, would the internet go down?
So, I picked a fight with a Google Apps product manager. (OK, it wasn’t really a fight.) He was presenting at a session called Cloud Computing for Small Business, which was really just a session on web-based office suites.
The invite only told me that it would be about cloud computing, with representatives from Google, Microsoft, and Drop.io speaking. Minutes into the session, though, everyone working in technology realized that this wasn’t intended for us. It was designed to convince small-businesses owners to use Google Apps or Microsoft Office Web Apps. (The representative from Drop.io, the most interesting product represented, received a minimal amount of time.)
I watched the speakers confuse those poor business people with babble about The Cloud — a dubiously useful term, conveying huge, vague concepts in two words. I mean, my business runs on cloud services, but every time I hear talk of The Cloud, I have these images of binary lightening bolts zipping information from one computer to another.
Telling users you’re offering them cloud computing when you’re really talking about web-based spreadsheets, is about as valuable as telling them a website was coded in PHP. Those products are truly useful to business people, but the representatives from Google and Microsoft made major mistakes.