Aug. 28, 2012 at 8:41 PM ET
Consumers are still a bit hazy on what exactly "the cloud" constitutes when it comes to computers; 51 percent thought inclement weather would interfere with cloud computing, and around the same number claimed never to use it — and nearly all of them were wrong.
The survey (PDF), conducted by Wakefield Research for Citrix, suggests that cloud services aren't exactly very well-defined in consumers' minds, even if they use them every day. Of the 54 percent of 1,004 people surveyed who thought they never used the cloud, 95 percent reported doing things like banking online, storing photos on Web services, and using online file-sharing sites.
One in five said they've faked knowing what the cloud is or how it works when they talked about it during a date or interview, and half said they suspect others are doing the same thing. And that 51 percent who thought storms might mess with the cloud indicates that plenty of people genuinely don't understand it — unless they were talking about Internet outages resulting from high winds.
Practically everyone who uses the internet uses cloud-based services in some way or another, whether it's uploading photos to Facebook or searching through old messages in Gmail. So the cloud isn't in danger of losing customers, but those customers just might not know they're using it or even what it is.
Perhaps providers of popular cloud services, like Dropbox and Google, need to make it a little more clear how cloud-oriented they are, both to inform and reassure users who don't understand (and perhaps don't like) the idea.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.