Gmail-Logo-by-ncrowI've been a great advocate of the Cloud Computing model over a number of years. I've advocated it and Google Apps in particular at a number of companies I have been associated. I certainly pooh poohed concerns about privacy and stability.

The events of the past months have rather shaken my position.

Firstly I was shocked to hear Ladar Levison of Lavabit on the radio here (National Programme) explaining how freedom of speech has been circumscribed in the US and the extent to which the authorities can get secret access to data. So much so I have contributed to his legal fund. If you don't know about this then you should find out.

Equally concerning are Google's apparently uncontrolled modifications to the web client. If I had running email as an in-house application as we used to and introduced an update like the new compose it would be a simple matter to roll it back assuming that we did not pick up the problems in testing. Now we are entirely at the mercy of the developer who appears to be rolling out mods with little or no testing and certainly no obvious interest in customer feedback.

As I posted previously web clients seem to offer the best email experience with global accessibility (I travel frequently and and love features such as two factor authentication) coupled with powerful search capabilities.

It's interesting that others such as mailpile and Cloudfleet have seen the opportunities that Google are offering to "eat their lunch".

I am sure that these events will cause many to think about migrating to something over which they have much more control. As others have said I won't rush this but it obviously needs to happen.