The Consolidating Cloud (or intercepting user behavior)

The recent changes announced by Google to let folks using Gmail to have the ability to email people in G+ got me thinking. This is not the first time Google, or anyone else for that matter, has attempted to intercept user behavior to change workflow. It’s all about winning the “default” game and gaining market share in any way possible.

A real life example;

For the past few years I have been using CloudApp as a handy OSX utility to easily capture screen shots to the cloud, automatically copy them to my clipboard, and have a record of them for the future.  Great tool!

However, fast forward to September 2013, DropBox announces automatically saving screenshots to your account too, with basically the same feature set. I am already a DropBox user, and therefore the opportunity is there.

How did this behavior get intercepted? See the screenshot below to see the prompt;

popup-save-screenshots

 

I thought it was a good feature, consolidating software I already use, plus it gave me an unlimited amount of screenshots per day.  

It also makes all screenshots I take accessible from anywhere (within dropbox).  I think I could access them on CloudApp, but via DropBox its just much easier for my flow.

So after years of being a user of CloudApp, one day it all switched over to DropBox.  I am sure there are many other screenshot tools affected by this, but its DropBox slowly eating away at number of cloud tools I use.

This is just a simple example, but the practice is rampant with photo sharing software all looking to be the default tool to manage all your photos. Practically every photo app I try (and I have tried them all) asks permission to bulk upload my entire camera roll to their service. I use a few for redundancy, but no need for EVERY app to do so.

Cloud services are eating each other in a way. This leads to platform lock in and higher switching costs, but potentially better user experiences.

Now it’s no longer just a matter of being first, it’s about consolidating, convenience, and utility.