Why free is useless for significant ongoing work
There are a host of wonderful, inspiring and exciting free services available currently. Ranging from video sharing to file format converting, with mindmapping and other tasks in between. If you want an electronic service, the chances are someone out there is offering it for free.
This is great fun, and is driving a burst of creativity and colaboration. This easy availability of great free services is in large part responsible for the hype over Web 2.0 (which somehow refuses to fade quietly into the background like other twee slogans - but is rather perhaps being mainstreamed ;)
Yet there are feet of clay to all this. In the 1990s many of us started our first websites on "free" hosts like Geocities, but soon moved on to paying hosts. In that case it was advertising that caused many of us to move. Other were driven by restrictive policies or lack of space. Something similar could happen to the current crop of great "free" services.
As GOS the "Unofficial news and tips about Google" blog recently noted in a post about Google Page Creator
This year, Google discontinued a lot of services: Browser Sync, Hello, Send to SMS and Send to Phone extension.
So, how safe are free services? The provider can drop or change them at any time. Don't rely on them! Use a free online file conversion tool, if you need to convert a few files in a hurry, but not if you convert files regularly. Use a free video sharing tool, to share video freely (Blip.tv
seems the best at hosting, but YouTube
draws more of an audience) but if reliability matters to you, do make sure you have a backup plan!
Free is fun, but it is also vulnerable. Google is great - as a search engine (though even there one shudders to recognise the power they wield) but not to be trusted with your website!
Labels: internet, video, web 2.0