Cloud computing baffles average American

“‘The cloud,’ as a concept, may be all the rage in the technology industry, but consumers are baffled by the term,” Thomas Claburn reports for InformationWeek. “Research firm Ipsos OTX MediaCT recently conducted a survey of 1,000 American adults that plumbed respondents’ thoughts about cloud-based services. In reporting his firm’s findings, researcher Todd Board suggests that cloud computing is as alien to most consumers as the term ‘woolpack,’ an obscure word that, among other things, can be used to refer to a cloud resembling sheep’s wool.”

“‘When presented with brand names, nine out of ten consumers indicate they are using some type of cloud-related service,’ the report finds. Ask a Yahoo Mail user if he or she enjoys the cloud and chances are you’ll hear, ‘No, I prefer Yahoo,'” Claburn reports. “This perception gap is most pronounced with regard to email services and music services; users of online storage and web-based productivity apps mostly recognize that they’re cloud computing customers.”

Claburn reports, “The message for tech marketers, the report suggests, is to talk about comprehensible benefits and brand value rather than the ill-defined cloud. Apple, due to the strength of its brand, may not have trouble convincing customers to use its iCloud service. But the Amazon may have to work harder to sell its Cloud Drive, particularly in light of the recent EC2 interruption, the report argues.”

Read more in the full article here.

81 Comments

    1. The cloud is nothing new. It is just a term made up by both techno-egos and WS shysters as aarketong tool.

      Most people are smart and inherently knOw that this is much ado about nothing. Apple should have done the updates this way a long time ago. I guess they needed to build more storage capacity.

          1. I distinctly remember seeing many diagrams with inputs leading to a cloud image labeled “And then a miracle occurs”. I’m thinking it’s going to take Apple to make the flow exit that event on the True side.

  1. I would’nt worry about it that much. Ask any normal American where Canada is and the usual response is either where is Canada or, isn’t that a county in Alaska.

      1. I was going to write “Canada is where they burn cars and loot stores after 40 years of frustration, then go back to politely tolerating Championship Hockey to the South.” or some such thing… but, seems someone beat me to the punch.

        1. Yeah but…here in the US we have so many idiots looking for a village. Ask the question, “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” and then you’ll see why. It’s truly pathetic.

      1. That is so sad – mortally embarrassing really. Surely they filtered out some intelligent responses.

        I hope that the rest of the world is doing better in educating its citizens. Someone is going to have to pick up the slack when the plague of ignorance takes down the U.S.

    1. Of course blame the unions.  Don’t blame parents for not noticing their kids lack of knowledge, or the kids showing up for school stoned.  It could not be the conservative decades long effort to get rid of useless class like history, civics, art, and music; only fund English, math and sports.  It could not be that the clip did not show people with the correct answers, or that most people were busy, and did not care about their answer that much. No it is only the unions fault.  

  2. Honestly? I blame those baffling Microsoft “To The Cloud” ads. Those ads are so obtuse and unclear about what they’re trying to communicate, I think they’ve taken something that could be explained fairly simply, and have turned it into something most people now feel mystified by.

    (Much the same way Microsoft keeps Windows users puzzled, scared and confused – easier to push ’em around that way!)

    1. Obtuse and unclear like Microsoft’s entire business strategy.

      Funny thing about those cloud ads, is that most of what they showed really wasn’t what cloud computing is at all. Streaming a video from your laptop at home? Uh, no, thats not cloud computing.

      I blame Microsoft for the confusion.

    2. They’re even more stupid because as well as being used wrongly, they’re using it as if it’s something are going to say on a day to day basis. No-one is ever going to say “to the Cloud!” outside of one of those ads, or when talking about how crap those ads are.

      1. Microsoft runs a series of commercials that make absolutely no sense, and do not demonstrate anything pertaining to the “cloud”. When the average consumer sees the commercial they assume that Microsoft knows what it’s talking about and that the reason the commercial makes no sense to them is that they are somehow missing some vital point. They think they don’t understand the “cloud” because Microsoft’s nonsense doesn’t make sense to them.

        1. Exactly. This was more or less my mom’s reaction when she asked me about those commercials.

          This is part of why Microsoft’s consumer-oriented marketing continues to fail – they can’t seem to stop themselves from making technology seem confusing and intimidating.

        2. Exactly. My mom had pretty much this exact same reaction when she asked me about Microsoft’s “To The Cloud!” ads. I have no doubt they were directly responsible for her initial puzzled questions to me about iCloud.

  3. How the hell do you compute at 30,000 ft without an airplane? what about those bright sunny days when their are no cloud in the sky? The weather is going play havoc on cloud computing.

  4. People don’t need to know what the cloud is. It’s a marketing term which is used in random ways, much like ‘digital’.

    All that matters is what it does for them and people are smart enough to realise that documents which synchronise magically on all your devices is a pretty useful feature.

    1. Exactly. The storage of data away from your appliance has existed since the mainframe days.

      WS shysters are just playing with the teem so that they can manipulate stocks like amazon and find bagholders (most likely pension funds and mutuals) whe they clean up.

  5. For many users, an email interface gets the job done whether it’s a desktop client or webmail. With a constant-on internet connection many are not clued in as to how or where their mail is actually stored.

  6. Apple was smart to make their iCloud service seamless to the end-user. You don’t go to the cloud – it’s built into your applications and your devices.

    As a result, Apple will probably have a much greater success in iCloud utilization than Microsoft, Google, or Amazon.

  7. “But the Amazon…” Most people would refer to the company as simply Amazon.

    Hey, but any excuse to put Americans down right? If they don’t work in the industry or use a cloud service, is it really all that surprising they don’t know? People are working hard to pay the bills and something like this just doesn’t (understandably) make the radar.

    This is (or should be) more about the failure of a “marketing” term.

  8. Well, if we are going to talk about average American intelligence, we should start with the education system (and what a can of worms this will be).

    I’ve been teaching since 1984 and, although my desires have always been to help kids be self-learners and ready for this “big ‘ol world”, the system is broken. I have more frustrations with administrators that are more concerned with covering their own ass (likely in political moves that would help them move up the ladder to some higher-paying position and parents that just want us to “fix their child” (like dropping your car off at the shop).

    I love to teach. I love working with kids. I stress for them, knowing that we (the system) have failed to fail them when they needed it. Our system is against encouraging them to do hard things. It is against making them learn to write legibly, in favor of an attitude of, “let them express themselves how they feel best” and “let’s not hurt their feelings”. By the time they come to me (high school geometry), they still can’t add and subtract negative numbers, multiply fractions, and calculate percentage (on a quiz when they get  a score of 34/50). It is frightening how the “buck has been passed on” so many times that we are now being forced to lower our expectations for graduation. If we have too many D’s and F’s, we are encouraged to “lower the bar” to make it easier.

    As long as administrators have this tendency to move up the corporate ladder in public education, we will continue to have administrators that care less about the teachers and students, and more a out pleasing the parents and the people at the district, city and state levels. It reeks of politics!

    (Don’t get me wrong, there are also tons of bad teachers out there, but time doesn’t permit me to continue this rant)

    1. I know and have known a lot teachers and your comments jibe a lot with what I have heard from them. However such comments are nothing new and go back to long before you started teaching.

      Also, I’d say that the educational system is more against encouraging children to think for themselves.

      You can’t have a country of nice obedient citizens if they are capable of critical thinking. They tend to be dubious of party lines and rhetoric.

  9. The average American also doesn’t care about cloud computing, and gets along quite nicely without knowing squat about it. That’s precisely why Apple is about to win big. Apple will talk about specific things that make life easier and call it iCloud.

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