I’ve been a big fan of cloud powered gaming services, such as OnLive, Gaikai and now GFace. That’s why it was surprising when I found out that OnLive was releasing a Windows 7 service. The service allows users of the iPad to essentially use Windows 7 over the cloud, and access everything that a normal Windows 7 installation does. OnLive has now taken it a step further and has launched the product for Android.
So what exactly can you do with it at this point? The first versions of OnLive’s Windows service let you use Microsoft staples such as Word, Excel, Internet Explorer and other programs, as well as using Adobe Reader. This is a surprising service that really highlights the role that cloud computing can play in the future. The vision of a world with bigger Internet pipes and just based video streaming on the user side seem just around the corner.
OnLive offers a free version of the Windows software but allows you to only store 2GB. If you upgrade at a cost of $4.99, you get higher speed and browsing. For $9.99 you get OnLive Desktop Pro with 50GB of storage.
The potential here is pretty stellar. If OnLive decides to create some additional middleware there are a lot of potential social applications for this technology. It makes it very easy to just click in and watch one person use their Windows experience, so you could watch them go through Excel, the web, Powerpoint, etc. It could make for interesting group elements where developers could code and flip to each others’ screens as they code together online.
To get started, CNet has posted a great guide explaining how to accomplish the first few steps.