We're Missing The Point Of The Cloud: It's Not Supposed To Be Locked To A Single Service

from the where-are-my-apis? dept

In the last few months now, we've had the launch of Amazon's, Google's and now Apple's "music locker" services. There are some key differences there, but all of them involve storing music collections in the so-called "cloud." But here's the thing: none of these actually match the promise of what "the cloud" is supposed to be. Rather, each involves online storage and lock-in to a particular vendor. I made this point back when Amazon launched its offering. I already back up all my (yes, legal and authorized) music via a mountable "cloud" drive using S3. Then I can access all of that music using any music player I want. With Amazon's and Google's offerings, the streaming only can occur via its own streaming service. In fact, the ultimate in ridiculousness was that I had to re-upload some songs to Amazon's music locker, rather than just point it at my S3 drive -- which is run by Amazon as well! At least with Apple's the focus seems to be syncing the music on various devices, but with Apple's control over the platform, it seems likely that for most people this still will effectively restrict usage to Apple applications.

I absolutely understand why this is happening, and am sure that the labels would positively freak out if someone had offered a cloud service that you could point any application to. But, really, when we're talking about "the cloud" and it involves this kind of lockup, it's important to remember that we're really not seeing some of the key features that the whole concept of "the cloud" is supposed to enable. Yes, we're seeing the remote storage and the access from anywhere type features, but not the ability to access information and data with different services. And, of course, once you could access such info with different services, you could see some real innovation start to occur around that information, including unique services for sharing and combining playlists, and making music a lot more social. At some point that will come, but, until then, these offerings are nice, yet hardly demonstrate what the technology really could do if it were unshackled.

Filed Under: cloud, innovation, music, technology
Companies: amazon, apple, google

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2011 @ 3:45pm

    Re: "Cloud."

    It always was jsut a buzzword. "The cloud" is nothing more than a return to the old client-server days of heavy iron that people access with dumb terminals.

    There are advantages to that model, of course. There are also large disadvantages, which is why it was ditched as soon as technology made that possible.

    One of the primary disadvantages is that you lose control of your own data. You're entrusting it to third parties. You trust the third parties will go to bat for you against others who make even the flimsiest of legal claims to access or remove your data. You trust that the fees being charged won't get jacked up in the future. You trust that you'll be able to get your data back out without a lot of pain. You trust that your provider will respect you and the integrity of your data.

    Given the history of big companies, there's not a single item in that list that I can honestly say I can trust any single one of them about.

    Besides, the consumer advantages of "the cloud" can be easily replicated by just about anyone for a couple of hundred bucks, using their own server and a bit of free software. So you can have the good stuff without having to trust anything beyond yourself and your hardware.

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