by Rene Ritchie, Daniel Rubino, Kevin Michaluk, Phil Nickinson
Let’s be honest for a moment. Families are a mixed bag of hurt. We love them dearly and they love us, but they also drive us out of our minds. We want to share our lives with them, but we also want to have our own lives. There’s information the entire family needs to know, and then there’s information we want to keep to ourselves.
And no one does a really great job of giving us the the tools to manage that yet. Social, scheduling, notes... it's all a mess.
We can all share one account, so we all have the same calendar, see the same contacts, look at the same photos and videos, track the same devices, enjoy the same apps and content, and otherwise have everything in perfectly synced harmony. But everyone can see your stuff and you have to dig through all their stuff to get to yours. Not ideal.
We can all have our own accounts, issue invitations to what appointments need attending, send what contacts need sending, share what photos and videos need sharing, track each device independently, each have different apps and content, and otherwise keep everything in its own little separate silo. But everyone has to push all that stuff all the time, and human error and overhead are annoying, and you'll be buying the same things multiple times for the same household.
Google, Apple, Microsoft, and BlackBerry try and make both approaches work to a certain degree, each doing a better job in some areas than others.
Google, Apple, Microsoft, and BlackBerry try and make both approaches work to a certain degree, each doing a better job in some areas than others. A patchwork of third-party players do too.
So, for now, we’re stuck with whatever your platform supports and you can work out, both in terms of technology and family. You know the “You spent how much on Candy Crush?!” and “I’m not letting you track my location!” fights are coming sooner than later. Maybe some consensus rules on how purchasing, tracking, and sharing ought work with your family are in order.
Google and Apple and Microsoft and BlackBerry have had years to figure out how to better service families, from the living room to the cloud and back again. They’ve failed. They need to unfail.
Because information is incredibly important to the modern family.