Yahoo appears to be looking to the cloud for its future. As covered by Search Engine Watch, editor Kevin Heisler today, Yahoo is using the 4th largest super-computer in the world, (owned by Mumbai based Computational Research Laboratories) to facilitate research in cloud computing.
Cloud Computing is a term that refers to software packages housed and run from a remote server. Another term for the concept is “server-side software”. Google Docs is likely the most prominent example of cloud computing in action.
While Yahoo’s announcement only covers “research”, the move is very important as Yahoo positions itself to either fend off the Microsoft bid or raise its own value in the face of the bid. Yahoo is developing yet another thing Microsoft needs for its survival.
I am writing and thinking about cloud computing this morning because of a few experiences I had at search engine strategies in New York last week. I spent a lot of time speaking with some of the folks from Microsoft and Google and hanging out with mobile search expert Cindy Krum. There was one conversation between Cindy, myself and Enquisite President Richard Zwicky that particularly stands out in my mind about the future of personal computing and the future of search.
The unit you are likely reading this post on is too big. Chances are very high you are reading this on a laptop or desktop computer. A few years from now (or sooner in some parts of the world), it will be more practical to use a much smaller hand-held device as your primary computing unit.
Moving to smaller computing devices will have an enormous impact on how consumers use search, almost certainly driving search even more localized than it already is. For smaller businesses and regional operations, the opportunities from cloud computing will be huge. For larger businesses and multi-national corporations, the cost savings are inestimable.
The future is not in the big-box, or in the software that runs the big-box. The future is in the palm of your hand, or it will be sooner than later.