Apple’s iCloud vs. Google’s cloud

“Apple’s approach is not to use the cloud as the computer-in-the-sky the runs all the cool stuff. It doesn’t want or need everything to happen in the cloud. Instead, it views the cloud as the conductor of Grand Central Station who makes sure all of the trains run on time and that they make it to the right destinations,” Jason Hiner writes for TechRepublic.

“With iCloud, announced on Monday at WWDC 2011, Apple uses the cloud to orchestrate data streams rather than control them. This is the cloud as a central repository for apps, music, media, documents, messages, photos, backups, settings, and more. A decade ago, both Apple and Microsoft talked up idea of the Mac and the PC, respectively, as the central hub of our digital life and work, with a variety of devices relying on it to coordinate content. On Monday, Apple clearly stated that’s no longer the case. For it, iCloud is now the hub,” Hiner writes. “‘We are going to demote the PC to just be a device,’ Steve Jobs said.”

Hiner writes, “In this way, Apple is taking an approach unlike Google (which essentially mimics the old mainframe approach). Instead, Apple is… allowing users to sync their personal data and media purchases from their computers and mobile devices up to a personalized central repository… For Google, the Web is the center of the universe. For Apple, your device is the center of the universe.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. I really like where this is going.

    When I’m looking at the future as Google sees it (everything digital will be done through a browser), I don’t like what I see.

    That approach only makes sense for Google because Microsoft controls Google’s customers’ devices. The browser is a hole through that massive limitation.

    Apple’s platform, and therefore Apple users have no such limitation. So why should our future be shaped by it?

  2. Google’s version of the cloud is to force you to put all your personal information on Google’s servers to be served as hors d’oeuvre to advertisers whereas Apple will respect your right to privacy and essentially sync what’s local on your hard drive across a variety of Apple devices bringing together and unifying information to make your life easier.

  3. The reason Apple II and DOS PCs took off in the 1980s is that you could still do some work when the mainframe or the network went down. They often did.

    Google’s approach totally relies on their servers and my network. If either goes down we all go home.

    Apple’s iCloud means that if their servers or my network fails, I can still get some work done and it will all be sync’ed when the network returns or server is fixed.

    1. I worked for a large Unix server company for a couple of decades as a tech writer.

      There was a brief period at a new facility where the AC went down during summer, and within a few hours took down the servers that fed our documentation content and resources.

      There were a few of us who used Macs to run FrameMaker (Windows was verboten internally), and we were able to continue working at home, while others were left to either twiddle their thumbs waiting for services to come back up, to leave for the day(s) to make up the work later.

      There are significant potential downsides to strongly centralized systems.

  4. That’s the clearest analysis of these two approaches that I’ve seen up to this point. And I definitely prefer the Apple way.

    While high speed internet isn’t as ubiquitous as necessary for true cloud computing, I’ll tell you what IS robust in its availability: flash memory. I have plenty in my iDevices and can therefore manage my media just fine with the iCloud method. Now if we were in an age of 1GB iPhones and 3GB iPads, Google’s idea might be more fitting. It’s the modern state of flash memory, shaped largely by Apple mind you, that will enable iCloud to perform at its optimum.

  5. I can’t disagree more. mainframe computing is mainframe computing no matter how much pro-Apple spin you want to put on it.

    No matter how well Apple implements MobileMe 2.0, users will always be at the mercy of the internet connection. So now watch as the current ISPs fall to their knees attempting to support unprecedented — and often unnecessary — data transfers that would be better orchestrated on the user’s local network.

    1. Wrong. What iCloud does is prevent the necessity to keep increasing memory in mobile devices. Eventually you get to a point where the device size is dictated by the need for memory.

      By making your data, documents and other files available on demand and constantly in sync, Apple just eliminated the need for 1GB iPhones or 3GB iPads. Need a document? Grab it from iCloud. Done.

      1. @bizlaw: please explain to me how that’s going to help AT&T keep from dropping your calls, or Verizon from offering crappy internet responsiveness, or Comcast from throttling your download speeds. Apple, like Google or MS or Netflix, doesn’t control the pipe — but as all these companies keep cranking up the tap, the network limitations — which will either be limited or get very expensive — will be obvious as demand outstrips supply. Enjoy…

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