Google says ‘Welcome to Cloud City’

bespincorridorGoogle knows what it’s doing.

The Chromebook Pixel represents a step towards a completely cloud-based future, so much so that I’m willing to bet that in the next 5 years it will usher in Cloud Cities; towns and communities where the entire population have fully embraced an always on, mobile and cloud based infrastructure.

The Pixel is a gorgeous looking machine, powered by the Chrome OS which is an enriched version of the Chrome browser. With a terabyte of cloud storage on offer with the purchase it’s enough to temp people from their aging laptops and desktops. The touchscreen is a miss, in fact Steve Jobs famously said that a touchscreen used on a laptop was not the way to go, it’s counter-intuitive.

The biggest downside is the price, at $1299 it’s just too prohibitive a price point to make it an attractive alternative to an iPad, MacBook Air, even a Surface RT (although I suspect the Pixel will win over this anyway over time).

Clear direction

But it’s a clear statement of intent. From an average consumer point of view, Pixel and Google Glass represent a future where mobility and cloud will become the norm, not a privilege, once it hits mainstream. The average user doesn’t need the power of a MacBook Pro, desktops are becoming obsolete in households and are replaced with tablets, phones and laptops. Those tools are perfect for light use, browsing, file sharing and storage, and social networking…even homework. Google’s strategy works.

For a power user the Pixel isn’t enough, clearly. A web-based OS can’t compete with raw processing power but there will come a point when it will, and Google will be there.

Leading a pack

But other consumer companies are moving this way too. Sony recently announced its strategy for streaming and online gaming services with its PS4: the acquisition of GaiKai was a major play in this direction (although whether they pull it off is another matter). Apple has been tinkering with its little “hobby”, the AppleTV, and for a while now, Netflix and Spotify dominate streaming media. Microsoft today updated its Office 365 Pro packages and Amazon has integrated Cloud Player into Ford SYNC’s Applink platform. Physical media is dying, even flash storage will become a museum piece in 5 years once cloud infrastructure and networking become robust, fast and reliable.

Light and lean technologies and operating systems are becoming defacto  standards and with them come ever increasing pushes towards the cloud. And we all know that when a consumer trend becomes mainstream the enterprise will surely follow. For larger organizations, the 5 year prediction will come and go without incident. I’m still working with companies stuck with Windows NT for example but for SMEs willing to embrace cloud it’ll be a reality.

Google knows what it’s doing. Five years from now, whole cities will be entirely cloud based.

The only thing missing is Lando Calrissian to welcome you in.


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Categories: Cloud / SaaS / PaaS, Disruption

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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