"Save To My Skydrive" Come True

More than two years ago, I wrote a blog post of my view on Cloud Computing, titled "Save To My Skydrive". Back then both OfficeLive and Google Docs provided online Office applications and collaboration tools. But one thing missing in both offerings was the feature that allows one to easily save local docs to the cloud, by simply clicking "File"-->"Save To Skydrive" in MS Office software.

Today, Google announced Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office,  a tool that enables local MS office files to sync to Google Docs. 

Update: Microsoft Office 2010 comes with Office Web Apps that allows file sharing and editing with Sharepoint or Skydrive. Windows Phone 7 has "Upload to Skydrive" for pictures and videos, and the Office OneNote app supports real-time sync with Skydrive.

This gives Google Docs a leverage over the office tools on your local computer. The idea could open the door for a plethora of cloud based scenarios that are more closely integrated with common applications on a local OS. Here are a couple of examples that we will see in the next couple of years:

  • "Sync To Cloud" on Mobile: On Android, if you open a file, you should be able to sync it to Google Docs or Skydrive; no need to save it to your crowed and unreliable SD card; Similar feature on Windows Phone;
  • "Backup My Phone To Cloud": No need to use phone backup software. Phone OS should allow you to backup your phone state to the cloud, and restore whenever you want;
  • "Send File Using Cloud": On PC or a phone, when you want to share a big file (video clips, many photos, an iso file, etc) with someone or some other device, you should be able to just do it without worrying about what transport will be used. Behind the scene the cloud system should be able to break the file into chunks, and leverage a mobile grid (peer to peer on transport layer) to distribute these pieces to the cloud and then assemble at the target.

 Essentially all the hassles with version control, data security, and limited storage on a local device or PC can be addressed by leveraging the cloud, as long as it is secure, reliable, and user-friendly. I expect to see more and more interesting cloud based user cases in the next couple of years.