While computing in the ‘cloud’ brings us a lot of good things, there’s one area in which it is often not very strong: longevity.
For me this is most apparent as I peruse the archives of my blog — in which, for example, none of the Google Video clips can now be played — or look back at tweets from a couple of years ago which often linked to things using the cli.gs URL-shortening service, many of whose links already no longer work.
And my last company, Camvine, used Google Apps for Business. The company has now gone, and so, with its Google account, have all the associated documents and emails. Thousands of them.
It’s easy, at the time, to think “I can link to this safely, or store my documents safely here, because Google isn’t about to vanish overnight”. Well, all of the service providers I’ve been tripping over in looking through my archives are still around. But for one reason or another, the links no longer work.
It’s obvious, but it’s worth repeating: Using, or linking to, someone else’s service, may be a good strategy for today, but don’t rely on it for anything you might want to access tomorrow. The only data I can be sure of is on servers I run (and backup) myself.