It’s an incredible world we live in today. There are so many services to help us manage our lives and data in ways that we could not have imagined twenty years ago. However, I have a major problem that is starting to become quite burdensome.
Here is my dilemma. I use many different services to manage my digital life. I use services from Microsoft, Google, and Apple along with a few others on a regular basis. This did not particularly happen by plan or by choice. I used to develop a lot of software for Microsoft platforms. I had a Windows Phone that uploaded every picture to OneDrive automatically. I went to a developer conference where they gave everyone 100GB of cloud storage for life! In 2011 Google Docs was far more advanced than Office Online, so I ended up storing most of my documents in Google Drive. Gmail also integrates with Google Drive. Four years ago I went back to iOS and bought a MacBook to do game development. I also use an app called ForeFlight for use while I am flying that only works on iOS. Apple’s iCloud synced all of my Photos between the Mac and iPhone seamlessly. iCloud also offers a shared calendar that syncs between our family which works through the iOS Calendar app, but I have a shared Google Calendar that doesn’t sync with the default calendar app. The last piece of the puzzle comes from taking notes/reminders. I had been using Microsoft OneNote. I switched to the Notes app on iOS. When I initially setup Notes, they were stored in iCloud. Now they are stored with Google through Gmail. I am currently trying out Evernote, which has been okay so far. The default iOS Mail app doesn’t support push notifications for Gmail. Trying to share a photo through the Photos app to an email doesn’t offer the Inbox or Gmail app! Arg! It is so frustrating! Everything is separate and isolated. I have notes stored in four different places!
Each service has things that I like. The greatest schism comes from Google. I use Google Chrome and Gmail. They do not integrate well with Apple’s ecosystem (Calendar, Notes, Mail), yet they are superior products on the web. I love using these services. I want to consolidate all of my data, but where should it live?
I believe the key problem here is with platform ecosystem loyalty. If I pick one platform, and all my friends and co-workers use that platform, I believe that all my problems will go away. These companies want to force us into that. Not only do these services fail to work together, they purposefully design their services to be isolated from one another.
How can we solve this?