If I may, I would like to take a few minutes away from SharePoint (it won’t be long) and talk to the techno-savvy-geeks out there who want more from the cloud.
As I move more and more into the cloud, I am more and more hesitant, and I’m curious to see if you share in my anguish. The cloud appears to be very young and viewing the several dozen different providers and apps available on the cloud, I would say some providers are fighting to become a sole solution, but no one is there, yet.
Here’s my issue, tell me if you relate
- I want a service where I can easily upload all of my files, photos, videos, and music.
- I want a service where I can easily browse my files, photos and videos online.
- I want a service where I can play my music when I want.
- I want a service where I can easily share my files, photos, videos and music.
- I want a service where I can bookmark web sites and RSS feeds.
- I want a service where I can blog.
- I want a service where I can store and retrieve passwords for websites.
- I want a service where my wife and I can share our calendars, contacts, and even the grocery list.
- I want a service where I can do ALL of this on my Windows computers (at least 3 at any point in time), Android phone, iPhone/iPod, and possibly a Mac if I get bored.
Did I miss anything?
And let’s throw in some social networking (keep tabs with friends, tweet, locational check-ins, rating and reviews, etc).
Is this too much to ask? Instead, I have a pile of services and providers in an attempt of doing it all:
- I use DropBox for synchronizing my files between devices, and it’s pretty easy to access online.
- I use Evernote for storing and synchronizing notes, and allows me to get wireless keys, CD keys, registration codes, recipes, etc. from my phone or computer. Their online experience mirrors their desktop application. Not great for actual files (word docs – music) hence using DropBox.
- I use Gladinet Cloud Desktop with my web site hosting provider. Gladinet allows you to make a drive on your computer to cloud storage, like an FTP server, or Amazon’s cloud services. Their application has a sync option to synchronize desktops, but doesn’t appear to have a mobile app available.
- I use Amazon Cloud Player for storing and playing my music on my computer and Android.
- I use Google Calendar to share with my wife.
- I use Windows Live SkyDrive to share files with others instead of emailing the file.
- I use LastPass to store my logins and passwords from websites.
- I use WordPress for my blog (this blog).
- I use ReadItLater to bookmark websites and articles I come across.
- I use Google Chrome to also synchronize bookmarks.
- I use Google Reader to track my RSS subscriptions including podcasts.
- I use Facebook to share images, but store images on my FTP server.
- I use YouTube and Facebook to share videos.
- I use two different email providers, one for work and one for personal.
- I use my company’s Exchange service to synchronize contacts between my computer and my phone.
- I use Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, Google+, Hootsuite, and Skype to be “socially aware”.
- And since I’m on the topic of cloud, I also use Netflix for TV/Movies.
Even with all of that, I still don’t get what I want. However, now that I compile my list, it does look like a lot to ask… or is it? From what I can see, Google is slowly becoming that resource, and they’re taking it a step forward and including social networking. With some work, I think Google could easily take, or at least unify the storm into a single cloud which would be a lot more manageable.
- Use Google Docs for file synchronization and sharing, they just have to get an app to install on desktop to help file upload and sync (good bye DropBox, Evernote, Gladinet, SkyDrive)
- Use Google Calendar for calendaring.
- Use Gmail for contacts and emails, allow it to easily download emails from my personal (non-gmail) and my work (also non-gmail) accounts. (Good bye personal accounts, and possible corporate accounts)
- Use Google’s YouTube for video storage and sharing, and online TV and movies. (Good bye Netflix)
- Use Google Music (currently in beta) for storage and playback of music. (Good bye Amazon Cloud Player)
- Use Google+ (currently in beta) for social networking, location check-ins and reviews. (Good bye Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp, Hootsuite, and Skype)
- Use Google’s Blogger for blogging. (Good bye WordPress)
- Use Google Toolbar for saving website passwords and logins, and manage bookmarks and RSS feeds. (Good bye LastPass, ReadItLater)
A little terrifying, but wouldn’t it be nice? One spot for EVERYTHING you ever need, one service to rule them all. I know they’d get sued left and right as they crushed the little guys. I’m not even a Google fan, but if they can pull something like this off, I’d use it.
Is there anything close? I’d be happy with a breakup of
- File share to include files, photos, videos, and music synchronization on desktop, retrieval on mobile devices and browse online (with playback). Allow for easy sharing as well.
- Data share, not unlike files, but more free-formed data like calendars, contacts, bookmarks, and allow ad-hoc lists as needed like grocery lists.
- Social share to post to ALL networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc), read all streams/feeds, read and manage RSS, and of course share it all.
And let there be hooks between the three so files can be shared via social networks, and social networks can auto-post data lists if needed.
(now back to my blog topic) Breaking it down into the three groups feels familiar, almost like an existing product available from Microsoft could service these with great success, maybe some tweaks here or there, and a great mobile app and nothing could stop you!
A pipe dream, maybe, but I say go big or go home.
What do you think?
I like the idea of being able to keep everything in one place, but only if there are a few competitors in that space. If only one company (say Google) provides the only one-stop-shop, that DOES become a little scary because they essentially own everything about you. With today’s emphasis on privacy, if there’s competition in this space, the masses who care about their own privacy will hopefully turn toward the companies that have the most consumer-friendly privacy policies.
Of course, if the government gets involved, all bets are off.