I told about the excellent online tool Zamzar the other day. For me, this is really groundbreaking news. Why? Because Zamzar deals with personal data.
If you think about it, many of use the tools online to share stuff and many of the services out there have the philosophy to share. YouTube, Flickr and all the other big ones are made for sharing your files. Social bookmarking such as del.ico.us also focus on sharing. And if you look at any of the Office suite such as ThinkFree, Google Docs, Zoho – they all have the ability to share and make that a huge key feature. Now, don’t get me wrong – I love sharing!
But data that reside on your PC – you consider that personal data – you don’t want to share that with anyone. And since many of the services focus on sharing – people directly think of terms like privacy, personal integrity, “- Will someone be able to read my files?, “- Will they index my files and send them to the government if they ask to”.
So why do I think Zamzar in some way is different? Because it involves YOUR data. You will upload your file, they convert it just for you and lets you download it and then deletes it (OK, the converted files are saved for anyone to download if they just have the link – but let’s forget that for a second even though the UID is pretty hard to figure out). There’s no question about sharing it – that is not what the tool is made for.
And I think, for the “online revolution” to happen, this has to become more common sense for some services because otherwise, people will keep using the online tools for some stuff, but as soon as it involves the users’ personal data – they will keep it offline and locally on their PC.
Me on the other hand – don’t care. I just upload everything I got and hope they won’t share it or send it to someone else :). Ok, I admit I have some directories that contains personal stuff, but I keep that on a USB-stick encrypted with the excellent open source software TrueCrypt.