Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I've got a bad feeling about this...

I remember when Internet Explorer (4?) was released and I was downloading it and trying to decide to switch from Netscape.  I had this unsettling feeling about MS, but IE was... faster.  And looked nicer.  I went with IE for a bit before switching to Firefox (way back in the day, when it was still called Phoenix).

Anyway, Google Buzz just came out.  I've played with it a bit but don't have anything useful to say about it's features or capabilities.  What interests me is that I am now starting to feel the same way about Google as I did about Microsoft.

It's hard to describe the feeling, but I think it has something to do with unease over having a single point of failure in one's digital life.  At this point, Google does my email, my office suite, my search, my financial portfolio, my blog, a decent portion of my online chat and my calendar.  If they went out of business tomorrow I'd have halfway decent backups of two out of my four gmail accounts, and about half of my Google calendars.  That's it.

It's starting to feel unlikely that Google will be consistently equal to the task of "don't be evil" while managing this degree of power and responsibility.  They are clearly more well-intentioned than Microsoft, but that just means they'll be even more powerful before they implode under the force of their own power.  MS imploded with just an OS and productivity suite monopoly.  If Google ever throws in the towel like MS has, they'll probably own far more than that. 

I don't know if there was ever a point where we could have saved ourselves from the fail that MS would become.  If there was, I feel like that moment when I ignored my feelings and switched to IE4 might have been it.

I'm not going to go Google-free just yet, but I have to admit that I'm getting worried.

Hi, Devin.