I’ve been a long time Web-based email user in my personal life and made the switch to using Gmail a few years ago. Slowly but surely, much of my life has migrated to "the cloud" and specifically to Google’s services. I switched my calendar early on from paper to the Web, and when Google Calendar launched with the ability to manage multiple calendars, I was in heaven. Add in tools like Google Docs where I practically run my personal life and Google Reader for my RSS feeds, and a substantial part of my time and life resides on Google. And that doesn’t even include search.
And it’s getting better/worse, depending on how you look at it. Since becoming independent, I’ve shifted all of my work email and calendaring to go through Google, although I have taken steps such as synching to Outlook and owning my own domains to ensure that I have backup to the cloud. And with good reason — Chris Brogan wrote about how his colleague Nick Saber got locked out of his Google account, and how it was eventually resolved.
This post is not about the merits and faults of cloud computing, but rather, how much trust I put into Google — and any other online service that I use, like Yahoo!, Facebook, and TypePad. In the end, it’s a leap of faith that I take each and every day.
So in Google I trust – for the most part. Google has earned my trust over the years with good, reliable, innovative products. And maybe I’m just a naive, trusting person, but I believe that most companies like Google will try to do the right thing because they don’t want another Facebook-like Beacon fiasco.
But Google can and should do more to continue to earn my trust. Phil Wainwright over at ZDNet pointed this out, laying out steps like providing a premium service for serious account users. This applies even more to start-ups — I think twice about giving my information to a company that may not be around tomorrow.
Take a look at your own experience, and replace "Google" with whatever service that you’re using and ask yourself, what makes me confident that Google et. al. will do the right thing by me? And I would love to know, just how much you trust your online service providers and what they can do better to keep that trust.