Googleffects: Why I’m Downloading My Gmail

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I’m totally drowning in Google today (icky), so instead of a megapost, I’ll pass along a couple of metalinks and then hit a couple of interesting issues as the day goes on.

As to the whole matter of Google’s motives, I passed along some of the speculation yesterday about whether Google was doing this as a way to exit the market gracefully. I don’t know either way really, and I suppose we’ll learn more later. At this point, I’d have to guess that this was about more than current market share and revenue. I agree with Richard’s take on this (The Peking Duck).

This is all pretty damn exciting. Hard to believe that we may have hit on the biggest story of the year, and it’s only January. It’s probable now that the “Year in Review: 2010” photo spreads will include pics of cold college students laying wreaths at the Google offices in North Beijing.

OK, first the metalinks. You can read just about any news source for Googleinfo, but for link lists, I’ve seen a couple of good ones this morning:

ChinaGeeks

China Digital Times

CDT’s list is more heavily weighted towards foreign content, with Charlie’s more focused on Chinese sources.

Right, next topic: cloud computing.

Yes, I’m downloading my Gmail into Outlook Express at the moment. God knows how long this will take, maybe a day or two. The connection stalls out frequently. I do recommend using IMAP instead of POP3, though, for anyone who wants to try at home; IMAP allows you to maintain your folder structure.

Do I think that Gmail will be blocked at some point? Probably not, but the personal data I have on Gmail is way too precious to take even a slight chance. Imagine if your iPhone blew up tomorrow and you had no backup of your contact list. It’s that sort of thing.

Yes, it’s my fault for relying too heavily on a cloud-based platform without having a backup. I’m a lazy person, and Google apps have been reliable enough (one significant outage in the past few years for Gmail, that I can recall) that I have taken connectivity for granted.

I am now reminded that yes, there is a risk with using cloud apps. This was supposed to be the wave of the future, with PCs becoming mere gateways to the Net, where all your data is stored, sliced and diced, manipulated, and sent back to you on command in discrete chunks as needed.

It all sounds good, if you can guarantee that the system will work all the time. This is the psychological burden of cloud computing, and the Googlefracas has made me take a step backwards.