Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hulu and Google Developments

Some good news and some not so good news today. First up is the launch of Google Drive, Google's answer to Dropbox--basically an online cloud-based storage space. I've used Dropbox for quite some time and really enjoy it. Google getting into the game has to be a good thing, right? Maybe not so much. There are rumblings about how they've worded their terms of service. (If someone had told me ten years ago how much "terms of service" would grow to be a pain in the neck, I never would have believed them.) Of most concern here is that, according to the letter of the law, Google gets the right to use your documents, pictures, etc. for anything they want for . . . forever, pretty much. Now, they also state that Google lets you retain the rights to those items, but it throws everything into a bit of a grey area.

I'm torn when it comes to these sort of issues. Do I really think Google is going to steal all my files and start using them for its own nefarious purposes? Not really, no. I do wish that the lawyers in this country would back off just a bit in their constant need to make everything spelled out to the letter over every little thing, however. But maybe that's just me being idealistic.

And in the more bad news category, free TV service Hulu has now come out with rumblings that they'll make it so you can only use their service if you subscribe to cable, which has to be one of the dumbest decisions I've heard in quite some time. They do state that it would just be in the form of a time delay. Subscribers get access to the shows immediately. Non-subscribers have to wait a month. To me, this is just another example of outdated delivery mechanisms trying to hold onto their business models in the face of new technology. The result will be more people turning to piracy, until at last the companies face the fact that they need to change the way they do business. You would like to think that companies would have learned from the music industry.

Apparently, you'd be wrong.

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