In one way I’m not too concerned, I never seriously used Google Reader so I won’t miss it. However it makes me wonder how much I can rely on Google’s current services. They do seem to be developing a habit of just as people are getting used to something or getting to rely on it they’ll either close it down or ‘integrate’ it into something else. For some things it really doesn’t matter, but where you’ve spent time and money developing your own system around it or you use it in some financial way then things may be different.
I hadn’t realised how many services they had killed off till I did a Wiki search on the subject, and that threw up a list of over 70 of them. Okay, sometimes something can quite simply be a failure and is just a drain on resources so needs to go. Other times technology (or life) has moved on so the service needs to be re-developed, but when something like Reader is killed off at virtually no notice I’ve got to be thinking what’s next on the chopping block – perhaps something I do regularly use and rely on.
This has got me thinking that perhaps I should be duplicating more of my Google based services across onto Yahoo or see what Microsoft are doing regarding ‘the cloud’. I can’t say that I’m that keen on Yahoo and don’t particularly like Microsoft, it will mean that even more of ‘big brother’ will be watching me, but then they’re watching me anyway!
One thing it will be and that is a bit of a pain keeping things synchronised when copied across to different service providers, however this has been a wake-up call / reminder of the importance of having alternative back-ups!
As we use the internet, how seriously do we take our data security?
I’ve been using the internet now for over 20 years. My first real experience involved a friend taking me off to some Unix computers to look at a collection of amazing planet / space images he’d found from (I think) NASA. This was not using a web browser (this was just as the web was starting to get noticed, my first web browsing experience was about 3 months later) but through Gopher space. However even prior to this I’d been playing around with computers for some time.
So over all these 20+ years of computer usage I’ve been infected three times by viruses, the last one about six years ago. However yesterday was the first time I’ve actually had one of my services (Twitter) hacked into. This did get me thinking a bit about control, and about how much I now have (or don’t have) over my information when actually using the computer in front of me. Even now, I’m not writing this on a word processor on my machine, but using Evernote, which automatically saves this to a server somewhere out on the internet! I’m currently using Macs, often hyped for their resilience against viruses, I also keep my software up to date with the latest patches and fixes, yet this did not stop my Twitter from being despoiled.
With the expectation now of ‘total access’ to all of your services from anywhere, school, work, home, on the train (even my local buses are now advertising wi-fi access) we’re passing across to others so much control without knowing what’s going on with our data. We all tick those boxes saying we have read the Terms and Conditions, but how many do read them, or when you do, make any sense of them. Even if your data is (supposedly) stored on a server in the EU or in the United States, what route did it take to get there. While you were tapping away on the keyboard, did the wonders of the internet direct it from your ISP through to some other country before it made its way back to your preferred data centre? If your data is intercepted en-route, who do you turn to for help!
I really do find it useful to have access to my information and to be able to do my social networking from anywhere and everywhere, but there is a price to pay for this. I just hope it’s worth it!