Survey: One-third of Americans believe "the cloud" is related to the weather, not tech

Do you know what the cloud is?

Cloud seems to be a buzzword in tech, but it's misunderstood by a majority of regular Americans too, according to results of a new survey sponsored by Citrix.

One in three Americans surveyed said they believe "the cloud" is related to the weather, the top response given when asked to define the term. Only 16% responded correctly that the cloud is a computer network used to store, access and share data from an Internet-connected device.

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With all the misunderstanding about cloud computing in the tech scene, it only seems to make sense that there would be equal confusion among regular Americans. One in five respondents admitted that they've lied, pretending that they know what the cloud is in conversation when in reality they don't. Almost 60% of respondents think you're BS-ing too, saying they think others don't know what it means when they use the term in conversation. Seventeen percent of respondents even admitted to pretending to know what the cloud was on a date, and 14% said they pretended to know what it was during a job interview.

Just over half of respondents to the survey said they've never used the cloud, yet when pressed 65% of respondents said they use online banking and one in five said they've used file-sharing services, which are usually cloud-based services.

The 1,006 people survey firm Wakefield asked to participate in the survey did get some things correct though: One in three respondents said they believe cloud computing can be impacted by the weather. As an Amazon Web Services outage after a severe storm in Virginia showed this June, they might have actually been right about that one.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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