Boaz Sender

Principal at Bocoup, Processing Foundation Board of Advisors, and Design Justice Volunteer.

iCloud Is Bad For The Open Web

June 7th 2011

Apple's iCloud announcement yesterday brings Apple into closer competition with Google for the cloud user. Google's version of iCloud is Google Apps, Google Music and host of other open web applications that are implicitly cloud based.

OSX Lion with iCloud is Apple's answer to the Chrome laptop. The big difference is that software for the Chrome laptop is built using free open web technology like HTML5 and HTTP that is linkable- you can link directly to content on the open web. This is a fundamental tenet of HTTP that contrasts software for OSX which uses closed Apple technologies that developers have to pay for, and which create walled gardens around content.

Apple has yet to announce any open web programming interfaces.

When I talk about open web software, I am talking about open technologies (not necessarily open content policies). Open web technologies are free for developers to use, and have open protocols like HTTP baked in. This backbone of open technology allows software developers to build a web of interconnected information and knowledge. This web is one of the greatest accomplishments of our time. Apple's iCloud breaks this web.

Today, native iOS and OSX software has a much better user experience than open web software. In general, Native iOS and OSX software is faster, more responsive, and works better offline.

All these features- speed, responsiveness and offline support- are becoming increasingly possible with open web technology. As the open web platform reaches out of the browser to provide developers with access to low level features of computer hardware, open web software has the opportunity to outshine native software.

Together, we can build applications that uses open technology to store content for users, so that users have the option to make their content part of the open web baked right into how their content is stored.


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