But I must protest one point! Data hosted by someone else is by definition removed from your control in a variety of ways. You can have access to it cut off unexpectedly over a variety of issues which may or may not be valid ones, or may be technical in nature. Like a lot of things I think this is an idea which sounds great UNTIL something goes wrong.
I completely agree, but what I was saying is that for most people unless they let someone else host their data something is more likely to go wrong.
Most people don't have remote locations they control where they can back things up, so the only way for them not to let someone else control their data on some level is to not back it up remotely.
And if they don't back it up remotely they can lose it all to hard drive failure, fire, malware etc. The datacenters usually mitigate against this kind of risk. Now yes, they are a new point of failure, and yes this can bite you in the butt (the blogger who Yahoo gave up to China certainly must not like that they had his data) it is much more rare of a scenario than the typical user's own data misfortunes are.
So I don't disagree with this at all, and there are some bodies of data I will not entrust with any server I don't have physical control over, but for most people most of their data is much better off with the cloud. It's cheaper and easier than taking care of it themselves.
A combination of the two is likely the way to go - you might even consider it to be local backups of remotely stored data if you like.
That is for sure. I didn't begin using webmail until it was portable. When Gmail added use of your own domain, and pop it became completely portable. I control the domain so I can route the email elsewhere if it becomes necessary, and I can backup all the email through POP.
I still don't like that there aren't easy ways to export all Google Docs, and I still don't use their App Engine because I can't get data out of it that easily (and because the platform is proprietary and the code would need rewriting to host anywhere else) so I completely get wanting to control my data etc.
Unless we have physical control of the data at some level I am not happy, but I don't mind if I am the backup and the cloud hosts most of the time. If I has intellectual property that I thought was worth billions I'd not be hosting with anyone else and I'd run my own datacenter of course (but would I also stand guard myself? At some point this becomes paranoia).
So yes, I still strongly encourage keeping control of your data integrity, I just happen to think that for most users the cloud is an easy integral part of doing so.