I think Google does a brilliant job. So too does Twitter. I use services from both everyday and I don’t see any reason for not continuing to do so. Google, in particular, has innovated while remaining relatively open. I know its ‘Data Liberation Front’ initiative, a portal designed to help people get their data out of Google’s domains, is taken seriously both internally at Google and by many of its customers, and Google’s overall effect on promoting Linux and open source adoption across the industry, albeit indirectly, is indubitable.
But for me, Google and the ‘cloud’ revolution is becoming a victim of its own success. Thanks to the convenience it offers while working from different computers in different locations, I’ve ended up using it for almost everything; music, photos, documents, keeping in touch. My oldest Gmail is now almost 10 year old and that’s a big chunk of my life. Too big, in fact, for me to feel comfortable with. I no longer want to leave all my eggs in Google’s basket.
Fortunately that same cloud revolution has had a profound effect on the cost and relative ease of running similar services yourself. And as Linux is the chosen platform for many of these online behemoths, it has become the perfect escape platform for those of us thinking of alternatives. Using the same skills you practice everyday on your desktop, you can migrate away from the online services you pay for with your own privacy and take back control of your data. I’ve started the process with my own data, and it feels strangely liberating! But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop using the online services completely, it just means I now have more choice. Which I’ve been told is the most important aspect to Linux and Free Software!