Emerging Tech

Poll: Who would you rather trust with your data, Google or Microsoft?

One of the most hotly-debated issues on TechRepublic right now is storage in the cloud. Users have expressed distrust in placing their data in the hands of Microsoft or Google. Which of those two would rather trust with your data? Take our poll.

One of the most hotly-debated issues from my column Four reasons why 2009 will be a watershed year in technology has been the "storage in the cloud" issue. Users have expressed their distrust in placing their data in the hands of Microsoft, Google, or any other vendor. However, since Microsoft and Google are the two heavyweights in this market, I thought it would be worth polling TechRepublic users and asking who they would rather trust with their data.

For me, it's a toss up. I worry about Google because they now have more information on people than most governments, and they use that information to market against users.  Microsoft worries me because their reputation in data and computer security is not very good.

What do you think? Take the poll and join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

71 comments
patchesandtippy
patchesandtippy

both! split the data in such a way neither can use it. Like KFC's recipe. The algorithms are well established for splitting data into two incomplete sets. always careful

goldenpirate
goldenpirate

Jason, to be a valid poll you should have included the third option - NEITHER. And it seems I aint the only one with that opinion. My Vote? NEITHER

microface
microface

I trust neither Google or Microsoft, neither will use and open source encryption service, or software. So you will NEVER know if there is a backdoor or not, and BOTH will give up whatever the Government wants. If I want to store information in a service I use one of the third party OFFSHORE services, and encrypt the information BEFORE it leaves this premises.,

jasonemmg
jasonemmg

The only person I truly trust with the private/personal secrets is MYSELF!!! Certain information I'd trust my wife...when I start going on about gov't conspiracies,etc.. she tunes me out!

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

Neither. If I have private data, it gets backed up on physical media I control, whether it be on CD, DVD, a USB flash drive, or my cell phone (via a USB cable connected to my computer). Data on physical media has less of a chance of getting lost or stolen than if the data were to be in "the cloud" offered by these companies. I encourage everyone to do the same, especially if you have sensitive data or private contact lists. Physical media is just as portable as "the cloud", and twice as secure. What good is having private data if it isn't private?

CPPCrispy
CPPCrispy

There should be an option for none of the above.

john3347
john3347

This poll is like asking whether you would rather be attacked by a rotweiler (sp?) or a pit bull. The preferred answer is a resounding NEITHER!!! However, strictly between these two, Microsoft is clearly the lesser of the two "worlds top evils".

ScarF
ScarF

There are missing two options, at least: - none - other I, as a paranoid person, would trust no-one with my data.

p.vinnie
p.vinnie

If Google or Microsoft wants to gain trust of end users they have to make serious effort in securing content of users, storing it in encrypted format and keep them in loop if they are using content on user system to show relevant advertising. 1. Securing content: secure storage which cannot be easily hacked into. Encrypting data both ways so that it cannot be sneaked into etc. 2. Store data in encrypted format: They can encrypt data once it leaves user system and store in encrypted format in their storage. Allow user to use his own key for encryption so that it cannot be decrypted by google employees or even security agencies (FBI, CIA) etc. Data can be only decrypted when it reaches user system where by using his own key it can be decrypted and accessible. 3. Currently google uses script on Gmail which reads content of your email in your browse whilst you are viewing it. They say that they don't collect data for any other purpose; however this argument is not well defined. They have to do much more and provide much more technical information for users to make decision. For business users (who use Google Apps) they have to give 100% assurance that their data is not accessible in any other format, used for any other purpose and it is not accessible to anyone else (even if government agencies pressurise them to do so).

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

You set up a logic fallacy of a false dilemma as a poll; which also taints your entire posting. Trust no one with your data. All data is vulnerable to theft, analysis, and exploitation. Just because you can sue someone for breach of contract doesn't mean the loss of data won't kill your company anyway. And good luck trying to sue Google or Microsoft.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

"I worry about Google because they now have more information on people than most governments, and they use that information to market against users." They have a lot of CERTAIN kinds of information, about a lot of people. So as to engage in target marketing. Gathered from tracking people's preferences as to what kind of sites they prefer to browse, keeping track in information queries made, and so forth. In order to try to determine what a person's preferences and interests are, or PROBABLY are. Nothing in particular new about all that by the way. In 1990 and 1991 I was engaged in similar target marketing. Accomplished by the simple expedient of buying lists of names and addresses, plus certain other personal info such as age, that were commonly and readily available to the public. Nearly every magazine, newspaper, and trade publication were willing to sell subscriber lists. States commonly sold lists of who had a drivers license, motorcycle license, licensed boat, hunting or fishing license, and so forth. Schools sold student lists. Certain retailers sold lists. So on and so forth. I used to buy up an assortment of those, run them through database analysis and compare names and addresses, eliminate the inevitable dupes and misspellings, do near comparison matches (i.e. Match up Beth, Betty and Elizabeth Jones as likely being same person based upon other data I had for each). And finally generate a master list with names and addresses, usually also with phone numbers, that also contained an "interests" profile for each. Also containing other info such as DOB, actual or likely educational background, and so forth. Sometimes I also ran that data against U.S. Census data to provide me with more info. i.e. Likelihood person was living in a lower, middle, or upper class neighborhood; lived in an area of high unemployment or low unemployment; etc. I was a Navy Chief Recruiter at the time, the effort was to target the efforts of my recruiters and literature we mailed out. But all the sources of info I gathered, ANYONE could have access to. In fact there were civilians in business whose business was doing exactly what I was doing, and then selling the compiled, targeted lists to other businesses. Google isn't doing anything significantly different. Just on a bigger scale. And, they're not always right. It's like when I use the Google search engine, or others, to do a look up of something. And they capture the data for that. Heck, sometimes I'm looking something up, or browsing web sites, for reasons other than a strong personal interest. For instance I might have just a passing curiosity. Often true that I'll be reading something and come across a term or reference I am unfamiliar with. So I look up info on that thing. Just so I know what the other article was talking about. Just because I do a search on something, does not mean I'm personally interested in that thing, or engage in that activity, or whatever. Or sometimes I'm looking up info for someone else. Happens regularly. Since among family and friends I'm known to be someone a bit more skilled at doing such searches than most folks they know. Add accidental jumps to sites I really have no interest in. i.e. I type in a search, then start looking at this site or that, and find I'm on a site whose primary subject is one I have no interest at all in, but it simply contained keywords matching my search. Not to mention sites hijacked by someone so that when yah click on a button you end up somewhere yah never intended at all. I watch and pay attention to Google results when I do searches, and find it amusing sometimes how they try to second guess what I really want and am interested in. (same goes for other search engines) For all their vast database of information, they're wrong more often than they're right. And I frequently have to do considerable looking around to find what I'm really looking for. Next. Obviously Google, or most anyone else, can come up with the general area where I live. But there is little else, of a truly personal nature, that's not already pretty much public information, they CAN have access to about me. I NEVER send business related sensitive info through GMAIL or Yahoo Mail accounts. I certainly don't send email through those accounts that'd reveal bank account info, or even which banks I do business with. Nor anything I consider "sensitive" information. In short the info they have, while extensive, contains nothing that I consider really personal and private about me. Even when I post to this group, I quite deliberately avoid revealing certain details. Or when I do mention some things, I purposely alter a date, a place, or some other bit of data that for data collectors would mean that what they've got would likely cause them to be wrong in some portions of their info about me, my personal and professional life, and so forth. As concerns Microsoft? My trust in them is no better nor worse than as is the case for Google. I TRUST neither, completely. As concerns things I consider truly private and personal, or "sensitive business" info. You'll never find me stashing files with that info on some site on the internet. It's already bad enough that I'm one of the ones who got bitten because a financial institution, which supposedly had really tight security of the latest available, somehow had a LOT of said info get into other people's hands. I didn't have my account with that institution drained or anything (tho numerous others did). I just had debit cards suddenly canceled, without warning, as they tried to contain the damage. A PIA !. At the time my wife was on vacation in another state, visiting relatives and friends. Found herself suddenly penniless to all intents and purposes. She called me in a panic, I contacted the financial institution and got their story. They couldn't issue her another, immediate replacement. So I ended up having to make a trip to the place (my time wasted), making local withdrawal of cash (my card didn't work either), and then paying the fee to money gram some cash to her. Yah think I'm worried about the sort of info Google has on me? Geez, give me a break. They don't know a thing I wouldn't tell most anyone who asked me in person. Just my opinion, nothing more.

melekali
melekali

Dude, I trust no one with my data.

raisch
raisch

Underlying this general mistrust of storing personal information with any external entity is this simple, primary question that remains unresolved with ALL such providers of cloud storage: How will my data on your servers be used? Until providers answer this question comprehensively and assume all liabilities related to misuse, trust will be very hard to give. It is interesting to note that NO such cloud storage provider offers a service where all customer data - both during transmission and while under provider management - are cryptographically-secured so they can only be accessed by their owner.

DNSB
DNSB

Should have been a third choce -- "Neither". As it is, the question is one of those "have you stopped beating your spouse" questions.

adornoe
adornoe

This poll is equivalent to asking... Who would you rather trust your soul to: Satan or Lucifer?

mdean
mdean

Actually, neither! I envision a day when cloud infrastructures fail, and throw mankind back to primitive times. Without the capacity to manufacture batteries, all of our gadgets would fail. Perhaps this hasalrady happened to previous civilizations.

simpalhsd
simpalhsd

Microsoft, hands down. I don't use google and don't trust it.

SKDTech
SKDTech

Whichever company will give me an ironclad contract with privacy, security and availability clauses I am comfortable with. This contract would also have to be devoid of the typical web TOS clause of "We reserve the right to alter this contract at any time." Any contract which may be altered without both/all parties signing off on the changes is ridiculous. Without a hardcopy contract in my hand neither is going to be trusted with my business data.

khenson
khenson

Since everyone here seems to think the 3rd option in your poll should be "Neither" - I wanted to add that if your poll would have had "BOTH" as an option, that would be my choice. I personally use both Google and MS for their "cloud computing" because I need an online backup method for my data. Yes, I have my own internal hard drive, and I am using an external hard drive for backups, and in some cases even burning to CD/DVD as well. However, there are certain things to me like my writing and my photos that are priceless, and having the option to back them up (for FREE) to the internet gives me extra peace of mind. It seems a lot of you have some sort of Grandiose Delusion. I highly doubt that anyone wants to do anything at all with my ramblings or my pictures. Now, if you are asking what companies should do about storing their data with one of these entities... well that is a different story altogether. One in which I could see why people would be so paranoid about an option such as this.

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

There is a problem with that poll, there isn't a "neither" option!

VoiceOfLogic
VoiceOfLogic

Neither. I wouldnt trust my data in the "cloud" to anyone. We've already seen far too many entities screw us in some way, shape or form. They're just going to outsource [more of] our data to India and China anyway. This is absurd. Just say NO.

ahmad_mohamads
ahmad_mohamads

I believe that we have to : 1- Trust both of them .... Mutual trust makes both Customers and MS & Google sucessful in doing business . 2- other wise if we go to distrust , we should Trust No Body at all. 3- So MS & Google has to proove and give confidence to customers that they are reliable on protecting privacy and provide Secure storage and secure access online .... etc. Good Luck to every Trusty Entity.

rajgopalhg
rajgopalhg

We can not trust any one for our data. Better idea is to store in our servers and take regular backup.

neilb
neilb

Once they have you by the data, hearts and minds will follow.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Wording referendum questions... I'm sure MS and Google will be interested in the results of your poll. All those without a vested interest in the result won't give a crap though.

dragsterp
dragsterp

Why is there not an option to not trust either of them

ian3880
ian3880

That's a no-brainer, Jason. It's a bit like the old courtroom trick question - "Have you stopped beating your wife? Answer either Yes or No" Along with all the others, my answer is: don't take the poll, and choose "Neither". I don't even trust Seagate, either, having lost two Seagate 2.5" drives each within a year of new. Backup - backup - backup and not to the same hard drive. If I could afford it a RAID5 setup would be better.

kraterz
kraterz

Why would anyone trust these two companies, or for that matter ANY company with your personal data unless forced at gunpoint? They have no qualms about forking it over to some snoop when asked to.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Western Digital, or maybe Hitachi... What happened to the "Other" or "Neither" choice?

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

.....neither. P.S. An [i]other[/i] choice would win by leaps and bounds.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

I really don't think that either one is somewhere I would trust anything more then metadata but with no other choices I had to say MS. Yes they are the "evil empire" and google is the 'do no evil' crowd and well neither are really my first choice. That said, my question is, is anyone else any better? Certainly not the government, or any of the so-called 'security' companies. Maybe if Verisign offered a cloud storage service? (We trust them for almost everything like accessing our banks.)

Dave the IT Dude
Dave the IT Dude

Neither Whether I don't trust a third party, or the network in getting it there (or back) is immaterial. Data should remain inside the organisation. You don't want yet one more security hole - especially one you can't control.

Geek3001
Geek3001

While 'none' and 'other' are good, it might be useful to add 'both' and 'it depends' to the list. I'd trust both as a kind of oversized thumb drive for things that would have minimal impact on me if they were lost or leaked. I'd only trust my own hardware, preferably off line or behind heavy security, for things that are important to me and should be kept private.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The cost of consumng such a service coupled witn the cost of switching to it (far from trivial) would scare off the Gartner's most inspired bean counting technophile. So we get offered it at no cost except to security, privacy, ownership and in real terms access. This is called free....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

to ask you why you don't trust Google, or why you do trust MS.....

kkopp
kkopp

I can see the attraction of "Cloud" drives for backup, but there are better options in this field. There are free backup services that you can use that will encrypt the information before sending it to the "Cloud".

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

is far more valuable than Acme Corps. In fact the most valuable part of Acme corps data, is the personal data they hold for their employees, owners, partners, suppliers, customers, contacts..... It's called personal because it's personal, not because it's about a person. All these providers of personal data in the cloud say they have right to use it, in return for their 'free' service, think about it....

VoiceOfLogic
VoiceOfLogic

Dont do it! These people dont give a crap about our privacy or respect our data, our jobs or our nation. Just say no.

fuzzybunnyfeet
fuzzybunnyfeet

I built a 1.7TB (available) 8 disk RAID 6 from all new components for under $2000 US. If you recyle components or shop on eBay you should be able to do it for less. The hardest part was finding a case with 10 or more 5.25" drive bays. I wanted the larger bays so each drive could have its own fan and heat monitor, and the two extra bays were for an OS drive and DVD ROM.

gypkap
gypkap

"The Cloud" concept seems extremely insecure. Keep your data within your company, not elsewhere.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'd prefer a stack of 360kb 5.25" floppies in a pillow case in the back yard between the fire ant nest and the septic tank, thank you.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

"Neither" should have been one of the options. Artificially forcing a choice between Google and Microsoft, when the world offers other real options, generates only useless data.

raisch
raisch

Recently, I explored the current relationship between Google and its users in another post; an analysis which I believe also holds true for other providers of "free" cloud storage services: "Many believe Google is in the business of making useful online tools available to you--their customer--for free. This is incorrect, based as it is upon a false assumption: that you and I are Google's customers. We are not Google's customers. We are Google's product." Full reply at http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=283702&messageID=2685073

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Pillow cases don't pile or stack well at all. :p I know where you can get storage boxes (100 diskettes per box). edit: emoticosns

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

it. I doubt Jason missed it, and I'm 100% positive MS and Google know exactly what they are doing. Cloud storage has been the big lie, since it was first mooted. The potential profits for providers are huge though, so they keep relaunching it on the basis, that we might have had a lobotomy since last time we we went, nah.....

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