Thursday, March 21, 2013

Confessions of a jilted lover

I was in a pretty serious and committed relationship with Google Reader (GR) for the last 4 years. The news of its sudden demise affected me more than I expected it to be. Suffering from a broken heart after GR decided to dump me this way, I did the obvious thing that every jilted lover worth his grain of salt does – I got into a rebound relationship.

Now for the last 5 days, I am having a rather torrid relationship with Bloglines. Since the beginning of time (I mean since the time I discovered RSS) I consumed the internet off Bloglines. Then somewhere around 2008, Bloglines was plain neglected by its owner then, and like others, I jumped ship to GR. And now after 4 years, I complete a circle and transition back to Bloglines again. However, now its not the same old product anymore. Its hosted on Netvibes.

But, jokes apart, the death of GR has had other long lasting scars that are pretty hard to heal. Here is what I would summarize about the way I feel since this betrayal:

  1. You can sign petitions, complain and whine. But if a company decides to get rid of a product, there is nothing much you can do about it. Long ago when Microsoft killed Money, I went through the same set of emotions, till GnuCash came to my rescue and I learnt Accounting.
  2. On one hand the big companies want us to move completely into the cloud. So much so that we are almost back into the era of dumb terminals and hosting everything off the cloud (Chrome OS?). At the same time, these companies can recklessly close down services that don’t make money for them. How practical is it to move all my digital life into the cloud? Do I “live” at the mercy of these companies?
  3. I was slowly consolidating all my online presence onto the Google Platform. Like I mentioned before, my everyday and my everything was being run off Google servers. Now with the sudden demise of GR, I am worried (worried is an understatement). I don’t think Google makes much money off me and sooner or later they will close other properties (read – Calendar, Contacts, Android, Drive, Blogger, Picasa, Feedburner). Whenever that happens, if I don’t have an alternate option, I will plain go through a digital assassination of me. The best option for people like me is to move my eggs from one basket (Google) and distribute it across the internet so that I don't rely on a single service provider (Who needs tight integration anyways?).
  4. Platform independent open source software continues to remain a safe bet to trust your data with. Why Open Source? Because even if the current set of product developers decide not to continue its development, the community can take over and make the product survive. And Platform independent because – you don't wish to be dependent on an operating system either.

So, now its 2013 and think hard before you cloudify your existence mere mortals.

No comments:

Post a Comment