The nature of the word “cloud” in computing

The name “Steam Cloud” is bullshit. It’s a perverse derivative of the term “cloud computing”, which is about sharing of computing resources among participants of a network, like a utility company would provide electricity, and sharing them more like services than products. (You can read up more details on Wikipedia if you feel the need.) The so-called Steam Cloud though is in fact the opposite – centralistic. It saves game config data, screenshots and stuff like that on Valve’s servers. That’s nothing but another age-old server side storage (or online storage as it might be more commonly referred to in layman’s terms). Attaching the name “cloud” to those totally not new server-side storage solutions became popular after the term “cloud computing” became popularly known.
If at least your Steam settings were ONLY stored on Valve servers and accessed live any time the Steam client needs them, that would be a bit more like the idea of cloud computing, but the online storage is just an alternative storage and you still have everything locally (which is actually wise).

If the misuse of this term keeps happening, then we could just as well call WordPress a blogging cloud, because, you know, you write stuff in your browser and then it’s published on their server space. In that sense, the word would become totally meaningless. The term itself is kinda metaphorical and probably as mushy as a cloud itself, but it still makes no sense to suddenly attach the word “cloud” to stuff as if it was something new.

There are examples of things that actually fit the cloud computing idea better, to various degrees, but those things existed way before the cloud-label was attached to them, and it worked fine without it. Again, this is just useless language ballast, meant to evoke a certain feeling of novelty about it, trying to entice people to use those services. Because… the sheeple consumer wouldn’t get excited about “activating server-side storage”, but now they can “join the cloud”.

It’s just ‘hipster marketing’, if you will.

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