Speaking of open protocols and data formats, iMessage being an Apple product is unfortunately as closed as it gets, but it’s just too convenient not to use. In order to at least avoid data loss, I tried to figure out how to get my iMessage (and SMS) logs from my iOS devices. Here’s the nerdy version without using proprietary tools or jailbreaking and assuming you only have encrypted backups on your Mac.
And while I was playing around with sqlite databases anyway: exporting a list of your favorite podcast episodes from Instacast 2.
On a side note, since I’m not a native speaker, I will always be grateful if you point out spelling or other mistakes in my posts so that I can fix them and improve my English skills.
Google Reader, open protocols and public utilities
Over the last few days following Google’s announcement about the shutdown of Google Reader, a discussion emerged about using Google (and cloud) services going forward.
Some people consider not even trying out new Google products anymore as they now fear that those might be shutdown within a few years again anyway.
Om Malik clarifies that it isn’t so much about Google services in general but specificially about the various side projects they launch and kill again and again:
"It is hard to trust Google anymore to make rational and consumer centric decisions. I said — nuanced as it might be — that I don’t trust Google to introduce new apps and keep them around, because despite what the company says, these apps are not their main business. Their main business is advertising and search — regardless of whatever nonsense you might read."
You might have a better chance if you choose a service from a company that primarily provides what you use and it isn’t just a side project for them:
"The point is that a company whose main focus is a specific service or a singular product, like Evernote, is far more likely to focus its energies to build a business around it and keep it around."
As Marco Arment and Andrew Turner point out, this isn’t really about Google but in general about proprietary services and businesses. The best thing you can do is to not rely on those services by always using open protocols and data formats and making sure you can always export your data to move it elsewhere:
"The point is that we must realize the vitalness of protecting and accessing our data. Whether my personal notes, email, photos, business plans, or any other information that I have, it is imperative that we retain ownership and rights to the underlying data. Users should be able to hold their data with permission to access, use and reuse regardless of future business decisions."
Krugman and Ryan Avent contemplate if Google is starting to provide infrastructure that the public relies upon but Google might loose interest in providing:
"So what’s the answer? As Avent says, historical examples with these characteristics — like urban transport networks — have been resolved through public provision. It seems hard at this point to envision search and related functions as public utilities, but that’s arguably where the logic will eventually lead us."
Izabella Kaminska adds that the concept of services turning into public utilities applies elsewhere as well, for example banks and maybe even general media (journalism?).