I don’t hate Google, that would be a silly thing to do in public. After all, in the last twelve months they purchased an organisation that developed some of the world’s most impressive (military) robots and have always developed impressive AI systems of their very own – what could possibly go wrong .
But that hasn’t stopped me from giving up on them.
The main reason I’ve given up on Google’s services are the ever increasing feelings of becoming locked-in. More and more services coming from Google seem to be Chrome-only, or at least work far better in Chrome than anywhere else and I think this speaks to the future of Google.
There’s no denying that Apple products are a kind of lock-in, but I feel that Apple don’t rely on my data as a source of revenue so I’ll always be able to get it out if I need to – I don’t feel this way about Google.
Whilst this feeling has been building up over time due to factors like requiring a Google+ profile to make full use of YouTube, or Gmail never quite playing nicely with other mail clients; it came into focus more recently with the introduction of Inbox. There’s no denying that Inbox is a great service, it’s innovative and genuinely useful, but I can only access it though Google applications.
This particular lock-in isn’t fundamentally a problem in itself, I can still get at my data, but it leaves me fearful for the future of my email. In the future I imagine Google turning off all POP & IMAP support – access to my email will be via Google (or maybe an approved API) only and my email, my data, will be more ‘stuck’ where it is than I would like – and I imagine the same will be true of all of Google’s other services.
None of Google’s recent behaviour strikes me as ‘open’, Apple is hardly an open company either, but I at least feel like Apple is open with my data on a closed platform rather than, like Google, closed with my data on an open platform.
I’d quite happily pay Google to have better access to my data, but they don’t seem to have much interest in that – so I’m moving all my data elsewhere.