But what if the cloud goes away?

Posted 10 March 2009 by

From Twitter, I read Andy Carvin’s tweets from FOSE during the keynote address by Chris Anderson. This tweet caught my attention:

chris: i’ve stopped using word and excel, now use Google Docs and keep my stuff in the cloud. #fose

My thoughts are what happens if there is a sunny day and the cloud goes away?

Why does everyone assume that Google, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and–yes–Blogger is going to be there when you need it? Did anyone in March 1959 think that in March 2009 the only thing between General Motors and bankruptcy would be a government loan?

Why does everyone assume that you will have connectivity to get to the cloud when you need it? Have you tried to use a cell phone during a disaster?

For that matter, the Wi-Fi on the Sounder between Everett and Seattle is not reliable on a normal day. Sound Transit buys Internet access from a cell provider. Coverage is not reliable along portions of the ride from the north, particularly when going by the Highlands in Shoreline. (I have it from a resident of the Highlands that coverage isn’t great in this gated community, either.)

The cloud may not be there when you need it. The cloud may not be accessable, even if it is there. Just wait: there’s more.

You do not have a contract with Google when they store your documents, as no consideration changes hands (that contract law course from college comes in handy occasionally). Without a contract, what do you sue Google for if they lose your documents? Promises are not enforceable in court. This arrangement is worse than a handshake contract.

So, why would anyone trust “the cloud” with their documents in the way described in that tweet?

Late addition:
Read a transcript of the speech.
Watch a webcast of the speech (there are minor differences from the transcript).

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