No, I’m not closing my accounts with these tech giants. However eventually Google, Apple and Facebook will lose their dominant positions in the market. Just like Microsoft, Yahoo and MySpace lost ground.
When it comes to working on, storing and accessing your images or documents it’s vital not to invest on any system that will lock you in. Ensure there’s an *easy* way to get your stuff out to migrate to another system. Keep at least one local copy. If it’s too difficult or expensive to move to another platform chances are you’re already locked in.
Worse case scenario is the service you’re using goes away. Any company can go under, lose it’s relevance or you outgrow what they offer. Taking cloud services as an example Digital Railroad demonstrated what can go wrong. Those photographers who used Digital Railroad as their only storage strategy would have lost their images when the company went into liquidation. Some may have thought cloud storage was all they needed: upload images and have redundant copies spread around the world. But when the company goes down so do their services – in as little as 36 hours. Not enough time to download gigabytes or terabytes of images. Yet today some people use Facebook as their one and only image repository.
While I’m not suggesting Google, Apple or Facebook are at any immediate financial risk, there are other perhaps more vulnerable areas to look out for. Tech companies get hacked and accounts – your images – can be at risk. Companies will also change their Terms of Service (ToS), something the ASMP has been vocal about when they can have hidden consequences. If you’ve put all your efforts into one service and it’s hacked or they change their ToS to take unlimited usage rights, what can you do? Take your images and posts down? But what about all the time, energy and followers you have invested in?
Give some thought on how you store and share your images and videos. A proper strategy on how and where your data is stored is important for both your professional and personal work.
Update: I did leave FaceBook (Twitter and Google+ too).