"The Pew study focused solely on people who store personal data, such as e-mail and photos, on the Web. Web data applications that provide those services are known among technology experts as "the cloud."
Internet analysts say the cloud is in its infancy, but they predict that it will change how people use computers over the next several decades. "This is as important as the Web was 15 years ago," said Georgetown University professor Mike Nelson at a roundtable sponsored by Google.
Pew's survey found that 69% of Americans now use the cloud. More than half ( 56%) use Web mail services. About one-third of consumers store personal photos online (34%) or use other Web storage services (29%).
"The Internet really anchors itself in peoples' lives as a social and participatory tool," said John Horrigan, the Pew Internet Project's associate director for research. People value Web data services largely because it allows them to share information easily with others, he added."
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