I love my Gmail account. When I recall the various problems I had with Microsoft Outlook on the one hand and spammed free online accounts on the other, Gmail means freedom and security.
Today, the Contacts list popped up with a new feature (not available outside of the US yet): Google Voice. That’s a kind of Skype in your Gmail. The pricing looks encouraging and I should be ecstatic while waiting for Google to launch the feature in Poland. Why am I not?
The other day I read a post by someone whose Google account got deleted. The post is now deleted too, and I don’t know if it means the problem was solved or it was a hoax. Still, I think the problem remains. What if we move all of our online data, contacts, emails, docs, ebook purchases and more over to Google, and then Google decides to delete our account?
Yesterday, over at the Polish wordpress.org forum someone said they had a problem with their blog. It turned out someone in Poland began offering free blogs operating on WordPress. Nothing wrong with that, but they failed to provide sufficient support and the user ended up asking for help at the .org site. Since there was nothing we could do for him, he downloaded his posts and deleted the account, saying he’d give up blogging entirely. I suggested he should open an account with wordpress.com, which he did and said he was very happy with the result.
Well, that was easy. Something that might have been frustrating and discourage a blogger for good, ended up winning another happy user to WordPress.
But that’s the issue. WordPress, thanks to its Open Source policy, is universal. There are millions of sites operating on WordPress and they’re all compatible. Nothing can be done on one site that a series of plugins couldn’t do on another. Thanks to that our data is safe and truly ours. Matt Mullenweg compares wordpress.org to owning a house and wordpress.com to renting an apartment. But I’d say the most important thing is that with WordPress you’re never homeless.
With time, we’ll be moving our life more and more into the internet. I mean, why on earth should I still keep all those dusted books when I can just view a file? But it also means that our life achievements may disappear over night without prior notice. And if we are notified we still won’t know where to take our stuff.
There is free (as in without costs) and there is free (as in freedom). Google gives us the first, but how to secure the second?
P.S. I now read that the Google account cancellation had its follow up. Glad it ended up well for the user. Sorry it’s still a problem for so many others.