Is Google's 'free' cloud an illusion?

Is Google's 'free' cloud an illusion?

Summary: Is the Google cloud all “ice cream castles in the air” or does the Google cloud “get in the way”?A striking aspect of Google acquisitions is the ease by which the management team absorbed adopts Google speak right out of the gate.

TOPICS: Google

Is the Google cloud all “ice cream castles in the air” or does the Google cloud “get in the way”?

A striking aspect of Google acquisitions is the ease by which the management team absorbed adopts Google speak right out of the gate. 

The JotSpot Blog in announcing “Google has acquired JotSpot”:

we’re all Googlers now, and we couldn’t be more excited… Google has thousands of the smartest engineers and product people for us to tap into. Google is a hotbed of innovation and creativity, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. 

Joe Kraus, JotSpot co-founder and CEO, has already been accorded posting privileges at the official Google blog and he waxes poetic about his new corporate parent: 

when we had conversations with people at Google we found ourselves completing each other's sentences 

JotSpot has also conveniently posted a “Frequently asked questions about the deal.” Among the provided Q & A:

Will paying customers still be charged?

We will no longer be billing customers for the use of the service. Although you will still have use of the product at your current pricing plan, we won't charge you anymore when your current billing cycle expires.

Bottom JotSpot-Google line? Application life continues to get better, and cheaper, in the Google cloud.

Is everything really all sweetness and light in the Google cloud?


Perhaps we should heed Joni Mitchell about the menace that lurks within clouds. “Both Sides, Now”: 

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all 
Do we really know what goes on in the Google cloud at all? 

Salar Kamangar, Google VP Product Management, says at the Official Google blog that the JotSpot acquisition supports Google’s mission of:

enabling people to move their calendars, photos and documents onto the web -- unlocking them from one PC 

Google proudly declares that by “unlocking” data and documents from the PCs of individuals, organizations and businesses, its Web-based communications and productivity applications:

open up a wide range of possibilities for working, planning, socializing, organizing, and so on 

After Google succeeds in “unlocking” documents and data from PCs around the world, what will Google do with the documents and data it obtains from the “unlocked” PCs?

Kraus notes at the Google Blog: 

As we built the business over the past three years Google consistently attracted our attention. We watched them acquire Writely, and launch Google Groups, Google Spreadsheets and Google Apps for Your Domain. It was pretty apparent that Google shared our vision for how groups of people can create, manage and share information online.

What about Google Apps for Your Domain? 

In “Google Apps is risky business,” I put forth:

Google’s genius at making an inordinate amount of money from its text ad auctions is matched by an uncanny ability to make everything it does sound so inviting, safe, secure…

Google wraps new product announcements in revolutionary claims of user empowerment and cost-savings while portraying Google as simply wanting to help.

I indicate that while Google’s pitch is hard to resist, individuals, organizations and businesses will resist if they are concerned about:

  • Ownership and control of proprietary data,
  • Data integrity and security,
  • Privacy of employee communications,
  • Control over content hosted,
  • Quality of Service guarantees,
  • Tech support…

In “Google’s not so fine print: Google Apps TOS put Google first” I put forth troubling questions about Google’s operating principles, such as:

What will Google do with users’ information collected and stored?

Will Google delete users’ information from its servers at users’ requests?

Why must users ask for Google approval to place their own content?

Why is Google monitoring the way users use Google Apps?

Why can’t every user of Google Apps contact Google for technical support?

What happens to users’ information in Google’s possession when Google stops providing the services? 

Bottom-line? In the word’s of Joni Mitchell: 

It's cloud illusions I recall

Topic: Google

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  • MS has users, Google has beta testers (NT)

    • Google is just honest. Microsoft has Alpha testers, and Google

      has Beta testers. In any case, Googles software is much higher quality that MS.
      • MS detritus

        Working with MS software is like going to a carnival. Look behind the flash and glitz and there's nothing there. I'm so sick of IE crashing constantly but my security settings and plug-ins for FireFox move me back to IE. Google may be a bit too pushy for my tastes but at least their software has been checked before release. In my book, MS is one giant BETA group.
      • G$$$$$$gle is just honest .....

        Now that they are making a lot of money, that they are in the target of analysts and that they have to guarantee a high level of stock value do you think they will "no evil" forever? What do you expect they will be in the next five years? So much different from MS? Just as an example, G$$gle has already told us (see Michael Kranz blog spot) that we cannot use "google something" if we don't use G$$gle engine: would you expect this 2 years ago from them?
  • Google is no longer an innovator

    Google burned through thier early days of innovation even faster than MS. Greed has gotten to Google. They are just like everyone else. Buy companies, buy intellectual property, buy ideas. It's all about being to be first to market and driving shareholder value.
    • First to Market - First to Share

      I hear lots of crying out there over google greed and google expansion. I don't get it.

      I guess everyone is tired of getting quality services for free.

      And I don't understand what is so wrong with Google making money. How did you buy you last cup of Starbucks anyhow?

      Everyone benefits from coorporate prosperity. It means that services provided by that company are solid, economical, and needed. Or else how did they come to be. Even "Windows" is a solid application and very inexpensive. Try getting that many lines of code into a mainframe application - what do you think it would cost. Into tens of millions of dollars. We buy it for around $100.

      And the first to market statement is correct. It is important to be the first company to grab or create a market share. That leads to industry leadership and perhaps dominance, but not always. But it does give the company a fighting chance and with a leading position it offers the financial ability to impove the product.

      And isn't that what we are all after, the best product that money can't buy, after all, it is free.


  • Free google v/s free browser

    I was wondering, how is google's throwing everything free and making money elsewhere different from allegation against Microsoft in past - throwing WEB browser free and making money elsewhere?
    Anil Sharma
    • It isn't but...

      MS has been declared a monopoly and therefore has to play by different rules.
    • How is it different?????

      a) I don't have to pay to use Google
      b) I don't have to pay for Google when I buy a new computer even if I don't want to use Google.
      c) I don't have to buy Google even though I exclusivley use a competing product.
      d) I don't have to buy Google to make other applications work.
      e) Google did not steal anybodies ideas or implementation thereof. (Search existed before Google, there were lots of search engines, somehow Google entered a crowded market of free services and made a bunch of money - that is innovative).
  • Cheap Hardware & Privacy

    With the price of hardware and storage so cheap, why would anybody substabtially increase the risk of invasion of privacy, by orders of magnitude (after all, your private data is already generated locally), and trust it to a public corporation. As major corporations go through their typical cycles of boom and bust, who knows who will end up owning your and your families private moments, and then put them up for sale to the highest bidder.
  • On-line apps vs. security of information

    There are a huge number of small businesses which could benefit and 'profit' from a full featured set of on-line business applications. The 'What happens when I can't connect to the Web?' question is one which can be answered with relatively simple software design. It may be a serious issue with current Web-Apps, but the market would force a solution.

    What is less obvious is how to address the legal issues of access to and control of business information processed and stored on-line. Current 'rules' seem to make data on-line stored relatively easy to access by both government and civil authorities through the legal system.

    At least one case I have read about succeeded on the theory that there can be no inherent expectation of privacy for data stored in a public database. Google and Microsoft both obtain certain 'rights' to your data when you sign up for their services. Does this mean that the government or litigants in a civil action will have less of a legal burden getting access to my 'private' data than exists where the company or individual retains full control (possession) of the information.

    Even where on-line services offer to delete information at the 'owner's' request, the terms of service point out that the data will likely continue to exist on back-ups.

    Businesses and individuals will have to (or at least should) confront just who they want to trust with their private information.
  • Free cloud