Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cloud Computing Problems - Demise of Google Notebooks

Much of the computer skills section of the course is devoted to online web services - composing Word docs online, creating PowerPoint like slideshows online, editing photos online, etc. As I point out to students, there are several advantages to using these online services (also known as cloud computing).

  • You don't have to buy expensive software to install on your computer.
  • You can work on your slideshow, essay, etc. from any computer - whether sitting in the library, in an Internet cafe, your home or your desk at work.

But when you keep all your work in the clouds on someone else's Web server, you run the risk of losing it all. I first became aware of this when my friend was horrified to learn that the photo sharing service she used was closing down - what would happen to her photos?

But it really struck home as I was preparing to teach this course. Last semester, I began using Google Notebook to store a lot of my notes online and had my students practice using it - I thought it might prove useful to them in other courses as well.

But this year, just after I had distributed my syllabus with a unit in using Google Notebook, I learned that the service was closing down. While previous users could still access and add notes to their notebooks, no new users would be accepted. So in addition to having to revise my syllabus, I have to worry about how long my own notebooks will be available - if Google is stopping all further development and not enrolling new users, how long will my old notebooks still work?

Serendipitously, researching for more information about the shutdown of Google Notebook led me to a petition someone had started pleading with Google to maintain the Notebook. So I learned about a wonderful free site iPetitions where anyone can start a petition.

If you are interested in signing the petition to Google to maintain Notebook, go here.

No comments:

Post a Comment