By steffo on Feb 23, 2007
Whose afraid of Google? Financial Times Deutschland (well not the tech mag par excellance) has an article about Google attacking Microsoft with Google Apps Premier Edition. Moreover - and quite unusual for a business oriented newspaper - they question privacy in Google's approach. Would I be afraid of Google? Mmmh. Maybe. Maybe not. Suppose Google were a telco (like AT&T, Deutsche Telekom) in 1920. Did people in 1920 worry about their privacy? Most certainly not. The whole data and privacy issue in technology is a phanomenon which emerged during the past 20 to 15 years.
If Google manages to protect the data as required by law, why not give Google apps a try? Honestly, I am more worried about viruses for Windows than people hacking into Google apps. If Google offers the Premier Edition for (small) business users, they should have some interest in defending data privacy. If it turns out, that the data is really at stake, then this yields a lack of accepetance (or the end of Google apps). What I like about Google's approach - though it's not new - is that it's been carried out by a big player. I don't know how many people at Google work for Google apps but it's definetly more than at the ISPs I know of in 2000. It is size that matters.
If I owned a small business, what would I like to have? A diskless client (well, a Sun Ray 170 like thing) which is able to access (web-based) network apps (like Google apps) plus an external drive where I can copy my private data on. So it's not totally diskless. I will use this drive to store private data. Since it's not an always-on drive this - me thinks - reduces the likelyhood of data being compromised to an acceptable level.
I don't run my own business plus I'm a tech buff and I propably won't accept giving control over my boxes to anyone else. I will propably end up in a situation where computers with hard drives are what mechanical cameras are today: geekware. I still use mechanical cameras and I will always want to have a real computer. However, most of my mates are using freemailer's e-mail services and digital cameras. This is, where the crowd heads to. I will encourage people to use thin clients because with thin clients I won't hear the "Can you fix my PC" question. I won't fix your PC. Use a real computer or use Google apps.