Cloud Apps of the Week: What You’ll Want for the New Year

Cloud Apps of the Week: What You’ll Want for the New Year

As we close out 2011, here’s some information on a few last-minute applications that are sure to improve how you experience twenty twelve.

Animoto

Every season of winter holidays provides an avalanche of fodder that only an attractive video can capture best. But what to do if you haven’t won an Oscar for best editing?

Turn to Animoto, an app that seamlessly creates vivid slideshows for the technologically challenged. Via the cloud, Animoto stores its customers’ videos for them to access from any device. Comparisons between this app and giants of cloud computing business, like Netflix or Dropbox, should end there. Yet Animoto’s founders have replicated these services’ subscription schemes. Though they can create a slideshow for free, more frequent users of Animoto can develop an endless stream of videos starting at $5 monthly. 2012 will reveal if customers are willing to cough up cash en masse for this admittedly catchy app.

Waze

At its worst, cloud computing is condemned by critics for its still sometimes leaky strategy for user security and data protection. Yet nothing trounces the cloud when it comes to harnessing existent information and distributing it to all. GPS app Waze wins on all fronts here: it gathers local information on cities and invites users to add their unique content to that data, without infringing on the privacy of their identities.

Waze is a user-generated application that passively collects data about roads, traffic, and local maps as a driver motors about. All the user need do is have Waze open on their phone while driving, and the application will reroute the motorist away from traffic jams and other hassles along the road. The data used to create such recommendations comes from other Waze users driving nearby. Users can also tweet their location and road conditions via Waze. An ideal app to have handy when navigating the inclement unpredictables of winter weather.

Hojoki

Fetch your cloud computer app cauldron. Pour in your favorite applications — Dropbox, GetHub, Twitter, Evernote, and more. Stir together. Bippity, boppity, boo. What concoction have you created? Hojoki, the integration app that streamlines all of the web-borne activity for a group of users.

The idea of a collaboration interface is certainly not new. Yet it was about time that a cloud app rolled in that would synchronize use of disparate other programs in real-time — a feat that Hojoki achieves swimmingly.
So broad has been this app’s reach that it recently opened in Paris, via “Le Web,” in public beta form. This application looks to make this technology that much more accessible for cloud-phobic users in 2012.

By Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

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