Jolicloud. One of the original standouts in the field of cloud-based operating systems (referring to the way data and apps are available online as opposed to on the desktop), Jolicloud has continued to innovate and grow, despite the very real threat of having to compete with a computing giant like Google.Before Google ever breathed a word about Google Chrome OS - the company's forthcoming lightweight computer operating system that consists of nothing but a Web browser - there was
The company's latest efforts? A new dashboard and an expansion of its so-called Joliplatform, the Jolicloud version of a Web app store, but one where apps can access both Web-based and local resources. Yes, "local" as in the files and folders you had on your computer prior to upgrading to Jolicloud.
Earlier this year, the company transitioned its operating system's back end from Mozilla prism to Chromium, the open-source Web browser that Google used to build Google Chrome. Jolicloud also embraced HTML5, the Web standard that will allow, among other things, applications running online to perform more like applications stored on a computer's local hard drive.
Soon after that transition, another change followed, which allowed users running Jolicloud Express the ability to access their Windows data from within the Jolicloud operating system. (Jolicloud is targeted at users of Windows netbooks).
Jolicloud's New Launcher
Now the company is making new changes once again, this time with an updated HTML5 launcher where all your favorite Web applications are available. To get started, you sign into Jolicloud via Facebook or with a username and password combination. You then have access to a scrollable dashboard where apps can be re-arranged and organized much like how apps on a smartphone can be moved around.
You'll notice in that image that Jolicloud not only offers a wide array of Web-based applications, but many popular desktop-based apps as well, like Skype, Open Office and even alternative Web browsers.
This in-OS "app store" is now available to application developers by way of APIs that can call on both cloud and local system resources. And through a new partnership with Joyent, developers can host their Joliplatform applications for free. Joyent will provide a development sandbox, sample applications, APIs and a complete set of Web and graphical tools to build HTML5 Web apps to all Joliplatform developers.
Also worth noting is that Jolicloud OS provides local access to Windows files and folders like documents, music, pictures and videos - an important feature that makes transitioning to the cloud more feasible for many potential users. In the future, Jolicloud aims to help new users move their local files to the cloud by way of a setup process or wizard that prompts them to upload local files to online storage sites like Box.net, for example.
The updated interface to Jolicloud, seen in the video available here, will roll out to testers in the coming weeks.