With yesterday's release of Google Drive, Google, in theory, improved the lives of its Docs users, providing a more seamless experience for document creation, saving, storing and sharing. But, as a consumer, all that connectivity, while appealing on some levels, makes us even more dependent on Google with our data than we already are. And that's the conundrum: We want our technology to be compatible, for it all to just work together, without extra steps, parts, conversions or effort. That's the appeal of a service like Drive over Dropbox. But, when services get all interconnected like that, we become slaves to one brand, which presents many issues, both philisophical and actual.
Google is selling Drive on its Docs integration, stressing the ease of having a user's documents and storage in one place. "All your stuff is just... there," writes Google on its blog. That is appealing -- no fuss! Also, as any Windows user knows, incompatibility can introduce a lot of hassle. But, this über-connectedness makes users more dependent on Google The Brand, which may go against user interests. This setup ensures we give Google more data fodder for advertising and money-making and whatever nefarious things it might do with our personal data. And, as Google Drive's terms of service outlines, users really surrender all their personal data:
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content"
And later down, Google puts a nice little clause in there that says Google can uses your stuff for whatever it wants. The more integrated these services, the more data Google gets sole control of. Frankly, it's just creepy to surrender all data to one Internet overlord.