Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Battle For My Desktop.. and My Data

Kent Newsome has written a good post regarding Google Spreadsheet and how he thinks this whole Google vs. Microsoft battle for the desktop might pan out. Check it out.

I agree with Kent in that it will be a long time before the corporate world shifts to an online mode of document and data creation. There are too many potential pitfalls in terms of security and longevity.

One point brought up is the fact that when confronted with online data storage, users will be concerned with knowing their data is safe and secure. In terms of the corporate world, there is no question that the security and safety isn't there unless the data storage is kept within the company's local intranet or locally stored, no matter where the creation/editing application resides.

Also worthy of note is the fact that maybe hackers are not the only concern. The current American administration seems bent on holding and having access to personal data records wherever they can (by asking ISP's or others to store them) in the name of fighting terror. I'm not sure Americans - or others - will want to put any more sensitive data online in any case.

Personally I've got a lot of data tied up in online storage. From Blogger.com to Flickr, from OurMedia to Gmail, I've embraced online storage wholeheartedly. However there are some very important things to remember:

  1. I've got backups of almost everything locally - sure they're unorganized, but they are backed up in one form or another.
  2. My data is somewhat spread around. So I'm not relying on one single supplier of services.
  3. Perhaps most importantly, this is all personal data. Absolutely no data created or edited for the purposes of my employer resides on any online sites. And none of this data can incriminate me (unless being a mediocre photographer becomes illegal) ;)

Then of course there is the whole question of price. Will I put up with ads if the price is right (ie. free)? I've demonstrated already that I do, but the ads have to be non-intrusive. And Google - so far anyway - is good at that (Yahoo for example, is not).

Whether or not this can be profitable for Google is another thing entirely. I still don't understand how these ads work in the first place.