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The Google Experiment

Every time I’m away from the office for a longer period, I’m amazed at how much I can achieve using only my iPhone and iPad. I spent two weeks in Portugal this June, and while I was there my web site went down. I do use the WordPress App on my iPad to post while on the road, but when a major crash happens, you’ll need FTP and database access to get to the root of the problem.

Sure enough, after I installed an FTP App and used the hosting manager of my provider, I was able to detect the problem, recode the corrupted files, restart the database and bring the site back up. All that on an iPad while sitting at the pool.

So that got me thinking that it might be time to move to the cloud. And since my company just switched over to Google Apps, and I was one of the Early Adopters who’s been up and running for a few months, I’m giving myself a challenge for the summer: the Google Experiment.

Why Google? You see, the first years of my IT career I was totally immersed in Microsoft. I was even awarded a MSCE 2000 Early Achiever certificate. That’s how much I was into the stuff. I still am the go-to person for all Microsoft crashes in my neighborhood. Then came Steve Jobs and he created beautiful iGadgets that I absolutely had to have. So during the last couple of years Windows gave way to OSX and iOS, a wonderful way of putting so much computing power in my pocket that I can travel with it. And while I’m not ready to leave my Apple years behind me, I’ve realized that I sort of neglected the whole Google experience. No idea why: I only use Google as my search engine and have a G+ account ( I’m in tech) and that’s about it.

During my vacation, I read a copy of the New Digital Age from Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (pick up this book if you’re looking for a holiday read – you won’t regret it). And while I was reading, I started to realize what a computing power house Google really is. You can’t ignore that. And though I have my doubts about the “do no evil” motto – after all, they are sitting on an enormous amount of user data just waiting to be mined – I’m going to take my chances and for a month switch over to the Google cloud. July 15 to August 15 is going to be an interesting time …

I’ll post regular updates throughout the month. For the sake of disclosure, I won’t be switching off my iPhone and iPad. I don’t own an Android powered device, so I will be using either my company issued Windows laptop or my MacBook Air, but I won’t be using any applications stored on them. And yes, I will make an exception to the Google Experiment for customers where necessary.

To ensure that I won’t take switching too lightly, my colleagues @MichaelCusters and @selmer challenged me to put some skin in the game: I’ll donate $5 for every day that I can’t keep my cloud promise to Google’s One Today.

If you want to help my experiment by suggesting Google Apps, plug-ins etc, please feel free to do so by leaving a comment below. You are also invited to join the experiment and share your views. Thanks.