The big five tech giants — Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple — connect nearly 4.6 billion people across the world. The staggering amount of data they store in their data centers are collectively worth billions of dollars and have resulted in algorithms that can actually change social and cultural behavior.

Whether you watched “The Social Dilemma” or are looking into digital veganism, you might be searching for ways to regain some of your data control from the big public cloud providers. While actually separating from these large providers might prove to be near impossible, there are choices available for anyone looking for good, safe alternatives. Let’s discuss three reasons why you should consider moving away from the big public cloud providers.

Lack of Control and Data Protection

Public cloud services like Google have massive amounts of data gathering abilities, for better or for worse. In some applications, giving up data in exchange for better personalization might be worthwhile. But, Google’s privacy policy is massive and depending on the type of data you’re storing, you might not want it to be accessed by Google and used to build an algorithm. 

Ultimately, when you’re using a service that provides storage or cloud space for free, you’re giving up data and personal information. Once that data is harvested, it’s difficult to control how it’s used, stored, or deleted later on. In fact, many users of Flickr found that their photos were uploaded to MegaFace, a facial recognition database that trained algorithms used by law enforcement to track protesters and spy on the public at large. Many of these photos were uploaded without consent, even though users had kept their photos private.

Public Cloud Storage Has High Lifetime Costs

 Every free public cloud service has its limit. When you reach your limit, you’ll need to pay more to use more.

Once you’ve bought into using a service like Dropbox or Google to store your digital assets, it can be tough to make a switch or downsize the amount of data you have stored. For instance, if you’ve uploaded your photos automatically to Dropbox or Google, it’s tedious to comb through and delete duplicate files or clean up folders and there’s always a risk of deleting something important.

Large public cloud providers count on users continuing to feed them data and absorb the costs of storage as it increases. In fact, most consumers vastly underestimate the amount they spend per month on subscription services and might not realize how much each of these individually cheap services can add up.

When Public Clouds Evaporate

In 2019, the digital photo giant Flickr ended its free terabyte of photo storage option, taking millions of photos and 15 years of internet history with it. When Flicker was acquired by SmugMug, the photo service was already having trouble with over-promising and under-delivering, and soon many users were faced with the reality of either purchasing a subscription, losing their photos, or moving to another service.

Another popular photo upload service from the early days of the internet, Photobucket, surprised users with a $400 annual fee to allow photos to be linked to external sites. And, for some users, they weren’t even able to download their photos to move to another site without paying a fee. Small business owners who used the site to upload photos for eBay and Etsy suddenly found themselves without access.

The price and access to photos in a public cloud can change quickly. Sometimes providers begin by allowing for generous uploads and bandwidth, but change their offerings later, leaving you in a lurch to find a new place to house your photos and memories.

Public cloud services are convenient, but often come at a cost. The big providers have a lot of leverage over users because it is inconvenient to make a switch and let go of a cloud provider once you’ve committed to them. They can limit bandwidth and downloads, charge more for their services, or just disappear altogether. Many cloud providers are opaque about their terms of service, and your photos and data can be used for purposes you may have never imagined, including training algorithms, personalizing your experience on the internet, or just generally to understand your behaviors and sell you more things.

With Amber X, we put you in control over your data with visibility into how it’s used (all with your explicit permission). Our personal hybrid cloud gives you access to your digital assets on your terms and you can share what you’ve uploaded with who you want, when you want. And, you’ll receive free upgrades without a costly monthly subscription fee. Whether you’re tech savvy or a tech novice, Amber X gives you the opportunity to pull away from “Big Tech” corporations and start taking back control of your data. See our 5-star reviews and get your Amber X now on Amazon