I sold my soul to Google

Having always been a bit wary of big corporations in general, and one that starts with “M” in particular, it is an uncomfortable feeling when I realise I’ve sold my soul to Google. Not quite a Faustian bargain perhaps but certainly I’ve committed the execution of my business and private computing to them.
I swore I’d never be beholden to a corporation again, and I’ve devoted some effort to disentangling myself from the Seattle megacorp. I’m not there yet but every year I come a step closer.

In the process of escaping the Big M, I had been eying up Ubuntu (I already run my netbook on HP Quickview). But I think I’ll be going Chrome OS in 2012. (Microsoft will be supporting my current Windows XP until 2013). My phone dates from 2003 and runs Windows Mobile 3 but my next phone is likely to be an Android (I’ve never been sucked into iCandy).

I already standardise on Chrome, GMail, GCalendar (shared with my clients), GReader, iGoogle, Maps, Earth, Trends, Books, YouTube for video publishing, and Google Docs for spreadsheets, presentations, and file storage. My websites use Analytics, AdWords, AdSense and Webmaster Tools. Oh and I use Google Search exclusively. One day I may pick up Apps Engine, Chat, Picassa, Groups, Goggles, Sites… So much more to explore.

I’m still stuck on MS-Word (recall that I write books) and Visio, but it is just a matter of time before I have Microsoft out of my life. (For non-Google escape paths, I do projects in OpenProj, graphics in The Gimp, and websites on the LAMP stack and Drupal).

So what am I thinking by abandoning one relationship only to fling myself into another? This one’s different Mum. Really. This one tells me it loves me, that it won’t be evil.

Actually now that I’m past my half-century I’d like to think I don’t fall for that bovine excrement any more. I go into this relationship with eyes wide open. Google are in it for the money. (And I reckon their advertising revenues are falling steeply in the recession, but who’d really know?)
There is nothing idealistic about entrusting so much of my life to Google. Google do something that so many other IT suppliers fail to do: they deliver value. They deliver stuff that is cool, is useful and it works. Much of it is “free” (nothing in IT is free). Despite the hysterical yelpings of the media, they “don’t be evil”. They don’t lock up my data. They don’t screw me with useless upgrades. They don’t corrupt standards to their own ever-so-slightly incompatible versions. They are transparent. The abysmal failure of Wave, and their cynical handling of it, just shows they're human.

Regular readers will know this is not my first love-song to Google. But now I'm even more swept away. As long as Google continue to be amazingly creative about coming out with exactly (or nearly) what I need, enrich themselves without extorting me, and are half-way decent in their dealings, I’ll leave my soul in the GooglePlex.


In every fat book there is a

In every fat book there is a thin book trying to get out.


To be fair to Microsoft (or more precisely, to be less unfair) I must say the whole family is exercising in front of the Kinect each morning (we'll see how long THAT lasts). Sci-fi come true. Microsoft have done a wonderful thing

Cloud is a distraction - careless computing

Hi Rob,

Where is the skeptic?

May I remind you of a recent post from the skeptic: http://www.itskeptic.org/cloud-distraction-its-day-job

Go ahead and give all your data away, but please stay skeptical. Or at least post these random outbursts of googelaritan lurv songs on a different alias. How about "Mr. G. - I like those colors - Oogle"?

a skeptical view of Google


I am a business of one. I get real value from Google and i get it at amazingly low tithes on my wealth. I've advised one client to pursue totally Cloud-based computing, but clearly it isn't for everyone, or even most. "Businesses, don't try this at home".

yes there is an exposure in being dependent on Google. That's why i called it selling my soul. Do I mitigate that exposure by copying essential IP? Yes. Do I see it as high risk? No.

the purposes of this post were to

  • say thank-you and give credit where it is due
  • point to the loosening stranglehold that Microsoft have over the desktop
  • marvel in an unfamiliar phenomenon: a useful, value-adding vendor that isn't a passionate startup

I call it as I see it, and sometimes i see things as good. But you're right, it's time for a skeptical view of Google as an antidote.

google spell-checker

For starters, Google will have to improve their Gmail spell-checker if it is ever to be an Outlook-killer. i assume it is the same spell-checker in GDocs, which isn't flash either.

Visio alternatives

Have a look at Creately, Cacoo and LucidChart online diagramming solutions with Chrome Webstore apps for your Visio needs. Maybe something fits.

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