Cloud computing’s silver lining

This morning’s Observer column.

Here’s an ugly word that has infiltrated itself into everyday discourse: “outage”. Its etymology is a bit opaque, but it’s clearly modelled on ‘shortage’. Until last year it meant “a temporary suspension of operation, especially of electrical power supply”. Now it means a temporary suspension of ‘cloud computing’ services – ie services, such as email, web-hosting and file storage, provided remotely via the internet.

Until last week, most Europeans were probably blissfully unaware of the term. But then Gmail – Google’s webmail service – went down on Tuesday…