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Making the Switch from Google

I still remember moving “to” Google. They are awesome. You can put your whole life in there and it magically appears everywhere; on your phone, on your laptop, on other web sites. You can use their chat services, which follow open protocols, to chat to not only other Google users, but anyone with a jabber account. They’ll store your photos, videos, and now even your daily status updates.

My problem now is they know too much. Yes, they already know a lot, but so far they only know what I make public. Now they want to know my secrets. They’ve indexed every web page my name appears on already, but they want me to tell them what your relationship is to me by adding you to one or more circles of my choosing. And the kicker is, you don’t get to veto my categorisation of you. This form of taxonomy has already been seen in phone address books (which Google also has access too, if you use an Android phone), but the ease that Google+ lets you add people to groups and the benefit of doing so is so great. And really – how many people use contact groups? Mine are all in the “Contacts” group and everyone’s number is a “Home Number” whether it’s home, mobile or office.

All of this is mostly harmless (notwithstanding unfettered access to data by most governments), until you get terms of service that includes the following:

You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

So they can use my intellectual property for ever, without paying me a penny, and they can change my work, and then sell it. Google is effectively telling me not to use Google+ or related services to promote my business (why would I give my IP away like that?). Further more, if I did, and they re-purpose my work, it could potentially tarnish my reputation.

It’s come to the point where I feel self conscious about using google.com while logged in. I’ve removed Google+ from my phone and will be doing a factory reset soon to disassociate the phone and my Google account. I’m going to install another calendar and map application. If you’re interested in the plan for the phone (Nexus One), I already have CyanogenMod installed and will be following the footsteps of the first poster on this page in their forum. This includes running Funambol on my server.

Holy fucking shit – I just looked at the homepage for Funambol. Until 5 minutes ago I thought it was a calendar and contacts synchronisation tool for Android phones. Looks like it’s an iCloud replacement. I’m going to be able to synchronise photos, videos, calendars, contacts and more on our laptops, phones and tablet to my own server. I won’t have to share my data with anyone I don’t want to.