Survey: 2020 Vision of Computing Mostly Cloudy
By 2020, the transition from desktop to cloud will be largely complete and we’ll all view the former as we view the latter today–an adjunct to our primary workspace.
That’s the conclusion of a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project that found a majority of tech-savvy folks believe they won’t be doing nearly so much work on the desktop a decade from now. Seventy-one percent of the 900 “technology experts and stakeholders” Pew interviewed agreed with the following statement:
“By 2020, most people won’t do their work with software running on a general-purpose PC. Instead, they will work in Internet-based applications such as Google Docs, and in applications run from smartphones. Aspiring application developers will develop for smartphone vendors and companies that provide Internet-based applications, because most innovative work will be done in that domain, instead of designing applications that run on a PC operating system.”
Given the growing enthusiasm for cloud-based social networking services (Twitter, Facebook), cloud-based entertainment services (Hulu, YouTube, Pandora) and cloud-based productivity suites (Zoho, Google Docs and the latest version of Microsoft Office), this doesn’t seem like a particularly aggressive prediction.
Clearly, though, there are some obstacles to be overcome. Privacy and security are, and will continue to be, big issues here, as is bandwidth. But once they’re resolved, the division between “cloud computing” and “computing” as we think of it today will likely be gone, as Google’s (GOOG) chief economist, Hal Varian notes. “In the future we will neither know, nor care where our data resides,” he said. “In fact, our data will be distributed in the cloud, where it can be accessed any time, any place, on any device, by any authorized user.”