If you look at what kind of technologies are going to make their way up in 2012 there are a couple of things which can come to mind. For instance the smartphones, they really made there way to mainstream in 2011, but in 2012 everybody will switch over and the beauty of these types of technologies are: the more people use it, the better they become. If a lot of people are using iMessage for instance (a way to message friends with an iOS device for free) you don't have to pay that often for messaging!
Another type of technology which can become better fast is the thinnest products. The Apple MacBook Air is an example of this. But in early 2012 there will be several UltraBooks released by other producers than Apple. Interesting? Definitely.
But what I want to talk about is another type of technology which is going to get BIG in 2012. What I am talking about is: 'Cloud Storage'.
Upcoming Technology: Cloud Storage
We all know about storing our files 'in the cloud' already. It is a popular saying and a lot of people are fairly afraid of the online storage of their files. Are these arguments valid? They might. In this article we will look at a couple of different services: Dropbox, Google Docs and Evernote.
Dropbox: Easy Online Storage
Dropbox is probably the most popular online storage service out there at the moment. With Dropbox you can share files with others really easy. You get around 4 gb, which you can increase quickly (check out how to increase your Dropbox storage) with a couple of free methods.
You will install a Dropbox folder on your computer. This folder will be synchronised on all the computers you have Dropbox installed on. I use for instance two computers and they both have Dropbox. The beauty? It is just a folder! No worries about synchronizing, buttons to click, it will all happen automatic. I just save my files for everything related to my major in the folder labeled 'University' and they are synced automatically!
What makes this service great?
It is really easy. Just a folder on your computer. You can make new folders and divide your files between them. You can have a project folder, an archive and a backup for instance.
Another thing is sharing your folders with others. I work with around 4 shared folders at the moment. I don't receive agenda's and minutes anymore over the email from different committees I'm in, I just receive them in the shared Dropbox folder. Right before the meeting I check out the agenda on my iPhone (Dropbox has an iPhone, Android and BlackBerry app) and I am prepared. When I am working with others on a project I make a shared folder and use this as the go to place when it comes to producing.
I personally love it as I completely implemented in my system. I don't store my University files anywhere else but Dropbox. I can access them now from several computers, including the University computers and my iPhone.
Dropbox is fairly safe. They had a bug one time somewhere back in June, but the company grew very big the past couple of months, which ensures an increased safety.
If you are looking for a smart way to use Dropbox, check out the article 'Free Extra Storage on Dropbox'.
Google Docs is the online storage from the Big G. Google Docs gives you a way to edit your documents online and share them with others. There are people who just upload everything to Google and work from within Google.
What makes this service great?
The best thing about Google Docs is you can edit online and edit together. This is something which isn't implemented at all in, for instance, colleges, but this is going to be big. You can work together with others on files and see it real-life what they are doing. This results in you seeing direct result from working together with something. With the chat function you can easily give some tips or ask what he/she means with that part of the text.
Checking each others work becomes a lot faster.
Another beautiful thing from Google Docs is you have all your files online and you can always edit them. Google Docs doesn't need a Microsoft Office, Papers or Open Office. With Google Docs you can edit everything everywhere, simply in your browser.
A downfall is for me personally the online thing. I am not always online (every week in the train for 4 hours for instance) and I want to reach my documents as often as possible. I can understand for other people the problem with not having a physical folder. You always have to upload your files instead of just saving them somewhere.
Google Docs is one of the services which I predict to becoming even bigger the upcoming year.
Evernote is another BIG player when it comes to online storage. It is not so much a competitor, but rather another type of online storage service. Evernote enables you to 'capture everything'. You have an account and you can make notes. These notes can exist out of everything, just text, PDF's, photo's or whatever you like. You just drop it in Evernote and it will be synced to your Evernote account.
What makes this online storage service great?
The best thing about Evernote is its search engine. Evernote scans photos and PDF's for you and converts them to actual text. So if you receive a business card, you simply make a photo of it with your telephone and upload it to Evernote (with the native app of course) and you can always find the card back if you attach a couple of tags.
Let's say I meet a guy at a conference, I will just make a snapshot out of his business card, upload it with the tag 'Conferencename' and I will always be able to find the guy back!
When you are looking for some smart ways to use Evernote, check this article out: Saving Personal Files using Evernote.
Online storage will become big in 2012. Wether it comes to working in groups with Dropbox, working online with Google or having a second mind with Evernote, you will see more about these services in the upcoming year. If you look at other niches you see it as well, for instance Mendeley which is an online reference manager. The internet just gets another function!