Is Google's 'free' cloud an illusion?

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.
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

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
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