What Does Cloud Mean?

The cloud is a general metaphor that is used to refer to the Internet. Initially, the Internet was seen as a distributed network and then, with the invention of the World Wide Web, as a tangle of interlinked media. As the Internet continued to grow in both size and the range of activities it encompassed, it came to be known as "the cloud."


Techopedia Explains Cloud

The use of the word cloud may be an attempt to capture both the size and nebulous nature of the Internet. Where the Web was an upgrade that made the Internet much more user friendly by adding media to the text-file based sharing it already used, Web 2.0 and virtual servers allow people to run applications, create content, engage in commerce and carry out thousands of other activities that go well beyond media consumption. Calling all of this confused potential “the cloud” might not be the most elegant solution, but it stuck.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.