Living Online

Matt Haughey launched a new blog, Fortuitous about building his own business online. His first post is about living online with web apps, I was going to say “I couldn’t disagree more” but thinking about it and reading the comments I’m not so sure. I know I won’t do it any time soon but I can see some advantages.

Basically he’s moved almost everything he does online, email in Gmail, words and numbers in Google Docs, accounting in Wesabe, pics on Flickr, calendar on Google calendar, etc. He then uses Google Browser Sync so he can get back to all tabs and sessions from computer to computer. I certainly see the advantage in that, you can be “in your office” on any computer very quickly.

I tend to not trust stability online as much as on my own stuff but really, there’s probably better backups online than with my laptop. However, small companies can close with no warning, where’s your backup then?? Most of his stuff is on Google, safe right? Except of course when they crap out, like they’ve been doing repeatedly for the last few weeks, including my coworking Google Group that’s been doing time travel, reverting two weeks back with no reliable way of getting support or any kind of answers. That happens with my email… I’m dead.

Plus of course the whole “my life’s in Google’s hands”, not just for the reliability issue I just mentioned, they literally parse and know everything you have in all of their apps. Matt seems to think his info is there anyway, not for me. My quotes and invoices are in my documents, my accounting, etc. on my laptop, locked away. Same for email. I’m more and more weary about Google having too much of my stuff so there’s no effing way I’m putting everything “up there” when “there” is Google.

There’s also a quality issue “my pics in Flickr” huhhh no. I post some to share but I have the high quality versions right here on a hard drive, on a backup hard drive and on DVD at another location. What the heck can I do with that low resolution, color de-profiled Flickr version? For some trips my pictures are the only souvenir I have.

This all comes back to something Karl was harping on all the time, decentralization. We’re moving to a structure where data is centralized in one place, sometimes it’s “everyone” in the same place, sometimes it’s all your data in one place, sometimes both. In all cases you’re giving control and in some cases ownership of your stuff to someone else.

If I could have the same quality of service on my own server, with my own installation of the app or maybe one shared with a few people I’m teaming with, able to backup to another server and locally, that might be interesting. All on someone else’s hardware with privacy raping, no warranty terms of agreement? No way.


blork May 1, 2007

I’m with you. I can see the convenience, but I’m not willing to hand over my autonomy for the sake of a bit of convenience.

heri May 1, 2007

i liked this post

i think it depends on what the usage. for montrealtechwatch for example, this is all public info so everything is on google apps (calendar, blogger, gmail, docs, spreadsheets, analytics … pretty much everything). i wouldn’t mind Google reading the info and indexing it because anyway it’s all public info.

all other stuff i do is on the laptop – like he said, you dont have textmate and other pro apps. apart from bloggers, journalists, managers and so on… you still need to have your own laptop.

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