The disappearance of Google+ Photo confronts us to the current limitations of cloud.
On forums, blogs and social networks, we often hear about the cloud as the safety limits. Many argue that to maintain its data on Google, Dropbox or Microsoft servers raises privacy concerns. This is true in theory but honestly I've never felt confronted with this kind of problem. My private life doesn't bother these big companies..
For me, the boundaries of the cloud are elsewhere, that is to say in the risk of an regurlarly used application to disappear overnight. I lived this reality in the past with some Google services (eg Google Reader). I've also seen web apps from startups disappear overnight.
This week it is the photo editing application of G+, based on Snapseed, which is missing. This application was unquestionably the most advanced cloud photo editor. It was the only one, to my knowledge, which enabled non-destructive image editing. It became my main photo editing tool. Its replacement, the new Google Image is an antiquated tool for retouching. We're 10 yrs back!. To maintain a minimum quality in photo editing, I will have to return to Lightroom that exists only on Windows and MacOS.
This phenomenon raises the question of the sustainability of the cloud. Imagine a company that decides to migrate to the cloud and ChromeOS. What they will do the day their accounting software disappear overnight? As long as the cloud will not guarantee us access to our applications, it will remain a real obstacle for anyone to migrate there professionally.