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Google Docs Outage Sparks Cloud Computing Debate

Many cloud critics harbor concerns about the technology's reliability.

The recent outage of Google's web-based productivity software, Google Docs, has reignited concerns about the reliability of the cloud - the technology that some expect to revamp the way businesses approach information technology.

Though the outage only lasted about 30 minutes, companies that rely heavily on the productivity apps ground to a halt, with everything from word processors and spreadsheets to presentation tools and drawing apps out of commission.

In recent years, cloud computing has been hailed as a game-changer for businesses. Rather than purchasing physical software and hardware, enterprises can simply outsource their IT needs to an online service provider, a move that may have significant cost and efficiency benefits. However, despite the potential advantages of the cloud, many naysayers harbor concerns regarding its reliability and security - a point which Google’s latest incident only served to exacerbate.

"This is likely to be a major blow to the growth of cloud computing, as it reminds IT managers of the danger of relying on a unified product to serve all a company's users," wrote CNET's Rafe Needleman in response to the Google Docs outage.

While the incident may raise some eyebrows, it is not likely to stop the cloud's growth. According to Forrester Research, the global cloud computing market is expected to reach $241 billion by 2020.

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