The problem with reliance on the cloud

Written by Ian on August 2, 2012. Posted in Google, The Cloud

Over the last few years I have gradually been moving to the cloud using services from both Google & Microsoft.

I am big fan of Gmail & other Google services for my personal use and stick to Microsoft for running a business.

One of the services I use from Google is iGoogle, this fantastic cloud based home page that you can access from anywhere in any browser and have personalised content in it and I use it every day without fail.

Google have made an amusement that iGoogle is going to close in a few months (31 July 2012) and the service will be lost, and while Google have given more than enough notice for me to find a new way to do things I am still a little miffed as I have grown reliant on a fantastic service.

So what does the withdrawal of iGoogle teach me, well one of the things I have said for many years is you get what you pay for so perhaps I should not be too surprised when things like this happen, I read a fantastic article that had the following words of wisdom contained within it:

“The fracas serves as a useful reminder that cloud-based services exist at the convenience of their owners, not their users.” (http://www.readwriteweb.com/cloud/2012/07/igoogle-users-imad-about-planned-closure.php)

So this little inconvenience will move me to self hosting of some of the services that Google provides for free and can withdraw at will when ever it no longer sees a use or enough demand for them. It will cost me a few pounds each year but just what price do you put on your own destiny.  The most difficult one will be Gmail and I will need to think a little about the best way to deal with that one.

So I will personally move my reliance on iGoogle into a self hosted portal where I can have my window on the world wide web accessible regardless of location without the need for a free service but what about my use of the cloud in business.

Well for business use I have a very different relation with the cloud, I run my own domain with my own email, I store all of my documents locally with some of they synced with the cloud as needed. I use the Microsoft live.com service to pull my emails’ from my server so I can work with email on diffrent devices without compromising the original source of the emails’ and my emailes are downloaded to Outlook so I have a local copy  that I can archive and keep. To my mind the pick & mix nature of my business use of the cloud is the best of both worlds, you have the ability to use the cloud but if a service was removed like iGoogle it would be a little annoying but not a problem.

And perhaps that is the point of this post, the cloud is a fantastic idea and while it is in vogue there will be lost of free services but as soon as a service falls out of favour then it will be withdrawn, I doubt that when iGoogle is removed from service that anyone will mind as there will be a project to replace or replicate the service but I wonder how many others will think that is Google can remove a well used & loved service then what else can they remove.
I guess if you are master of your own data that is the way to be, use the free cloud services to make life a little easier but becoming dependent on services that can and will be removed when the wind changes may not b the best way forward.

Just imagine if Google was to say the free Gmail accounts will become a thing of the past in 6 months and then offered a pay service of £2.00 a month, how difficult would it be to move away?

Now I am not saying that Gmail is moving to a pay model but it is worth remembering that Google is there to make money and if a free service they supply no longer contributes towards the generation of money then what life will it have and how much would be willing to pay to keep it going.

Tags: ,

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment

Categories

Archive