Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tip - use Gmail and other Google services to avoid "lock-in"

The post [G] Welcome to the Data Liberation Front discusses Google's approach to Gmail data portability and zero "lock-in". Brilliant. This is one of the main reasons I like using Gmail and Google's other free services. They don't try to lock you in. It's YOUR data - e.g., they even make it easy for you to pack up and migrate your Google blogs to some other system.
It reminded me of my recent experience with migrating my NZ mobile phone number from Vodafone to the much cheaper - by up to 50% - 2degrees mobile network service.

The number was migrated unchanged in less than 24 hrs. That is, it included the Vodafone "021" network prefix. (I had thought I would at least be obliged to have that changed to 2degrees' "022" network prefix, but no.)
I never thought I'd see this - NZ government operating in the consumer interests despite the might of the telco industry lobbyists. (Money talks.) Yes, the NZ government (Commerce Commission) have - albeit belatedly - forced telcos to provide number portability. Thus, one's phone number has become one's property. Previously, it wasn't.
"Lock-in" was a term taught to me in ICL sales training in the '70s as being customer "lock in" - a powerful tool of the IT and telecomms industry. It makes the customer dependent on the service/product supplier. It was thus with Vodafone. Leave the supplier - lose your number!
However, it is still the same with default email addresses provided by ISPs which is why I never use/publish my email addresses with those organisations. (One of these is the NZ Telecom "Xtra" ISP, which a while back conspired with Yahoo! to force its locked-in email accounts to migrate to Yahoo! - but they are still locked-in. No email address portability there - that's the last thing they want. Nice try, but I was not buying into it.)
My email is Gmail, and I am not locked into it. I shall stick with it because Google provides a compellingly attractive set of associated services that makes any other service pale into insignificance by comparison. Google would already know that and presumably aim to keep it that way.
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