Digital Lock-In: One Person's Experience Quitting Google

I recently wrote about Apple’s iCloud service, and warned that Apple’s plan to obscure file management in future versions of its operating systems (OS X, iOS5) would make it more difficult for people to “switch” from Apple’s cloud computing services to those of their competitors. By obscuring file management from the user, Apple is further contributing to a kind of “digital lock-in” that is fast becoming a problem with cloud-based computing services.

Well, Joshua Romero, an IEEE contributor recently wrote about his experience with digital lock-in, during his attempt to “quit Google” by dismantling his Google account, Gmail account, Docs account, Calendar, and other services. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

I decided to put my own dependence on Google to the test. The plan was simple—to the best of my ability, I would sever my relationship with Google. I vowed to stop doing business with Google by no longer providing it information. Could I go Google-free without losing my digital quality of life?

My plan was to cut off my data stream to Google from three primary sources: my Google account, my search history, and my trail of browsing across the Web…[read more…]

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