I came across the site for this project and was instantly skeptical… but definitely intrigued. Cloudo is currently under development by a Stockholm, Sweden company by the same name. It aims to provide a free web-based (advertising supported) computer OS experience. Your computer on the web, with customizable UI sets resembling Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X so that users will feel comfortable in familiar surroundings. Built on top of the LAMP-stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP), Cloudo is making all the right moves by utilizing the open-source infrastructure. They are balancing the give and take of the new marketplace by being an admittedly for-profit company. However, the product is free to use and supported by advertisements, so the burden of payment lies with the corporate identities, not on the end users.
Cloudo is also working in the new economic model by remaining open and transparent. They are currently in “Developer Alpha” where Cloudo is open to community members who make a commitment to creating options for general use and building add-ons and mods to make use of the Cloudo API. This creates a set of invested consumer evangelists and niche information specialists like software developers. This also creates buzz and ensures that when the site opens to normal Users it will not be an empty skeleton, but with an array of initial choices.
Cloudo continues to provide an excellent example case for new media marketing because it hits the triple target. First, it is providing a convenient (and free) online solution with real potential value for a multitude of users. Second, in addition to Cloudo’s base services it offers and empowers users with the ability to customize their experience, either by selecting from community-provided addons or else by opening the API to allow community authoring to take place to begin with. And finally, because the Cloudo product is designed to also allow for integrated social networking and collaborative work environments as well as individual space, combining community with customization.
I plan on emailing the project contacts and trying to get in on the developer alpha as a potential consumer evangelist. I want this to work out well for them, because if Cloudo manges to succeed well, then it’s a reassurance that the theory for Interactive Communications is on the right path after all. If it doesn’t, then more study or more time will be needed.
I’ll keep everyone posted. Even if I don’t get into the alpha development crew to poke around, I have pre-registered as a user and when Cloudo opens, I will try it for a month as a personal experiment and blog about my experiences.