However, you're not talking about "free as in freedom of speech", but rather about being a cheap bastard.
Nothing wrong with that, I am and will always be a cheap bastard myself. BUT sometimes being cheap is different from being frugal and can have a negative effect on your bottom line.
My Dropbox subscription costs as much as 2 Starbucks coffees and man, let me tell you, I drink a lot of coffee. In exchange I get a good Linux client, a good iPad client, plus unlimited history of changes. I also trust them with my data, for now at least.
With Google Drive you may think that you'll always have alternatives to move in case they shut it down. However, by supporting Google, you're contributing to a possible future where no alternatives are left. Also, in case Google ever cuts you out of your account based on a malfunctioning script that calculated some probability that you may be violating their TOS for one of their dozens of services, you will not have the moral right to bitch about it, because you knew the associated risks.
How does that make me a 'cheap bastard'? In fact, I've been looking around, and my conclusion is that if I were to pay for my e-mail with another provider, I'd be paying more for an inferior product.
Please read my reply in the context it was given. Using Google's services when they are the best makes sense. Using Ad-sponsored services, especially in cases where something valuable like access to your data is involved, when better alternatives exist for the price of coffee, well that does not make sense.
Functionally, the only difference is they can't pay dividends to shareholders. Non-profit's can (and do!) turn profits into executives bonus's or perks, or bloated organizations, etc.
Why do you feel a non-profit would run a service better?
In the UK, it's easy to set up a non-profit as a Company Limited by Guarantee, which has no shares. Such companies can still make profits, but they can't necessarily be distributed to Directors. It doesn't prevent them from making profits or spending them any other way.
For a comparison, see past discussions about Post Haven (re: pledges to "never be acquired") . Had they set up as a non-profit from the beginning, the purpose would have been clearer and enshrined in the company's legal structure. Presumably fewer people would have had cause to question the founders' motives.
Of course, non-profits are not created equal. There's IKEA and then there's Mozilla or EFF.
The IKEA example is interesting as I think the aim of the convoluted legal structures (inc a non-profit somewhere) was to allow one person to have almost total control over the company.
Edit: For anyone interested in the IKEA web of companies, you read the following article: http://www.economist.com/node/6919139?story_id=6919139
The comment I replied to mentions preference towards Ads-enabled services, just because they are free of charge and when a subscription to a service that keeps your data is the same price as 2 coffees, that's being a cheap bastard dude.
Also, in case this term offends anyone, it wasn't really meant to be insulting. As I said, I'm a cheap bastard myself. For instance I take advantage of a lot of available freebies, like Heroku's free dynos. I'm also a free Google Apps user and haven't made any attempts to escape Google's silo. Nothing wrong with that. But in regards to the price you end up paying, sometimes cheap stuff ends up costing more.
You're also volunteering your interactions with other people, their conversations with you and whatnot.
They may not be so spendthrift with their privacy.
To be more accurate, you're paying with your privacy. Of course, "information" does sound more pleasant.
No, but I'm sure most people see privacy in a roughly similar way. You want control over what people know about you and your life, and control over who know it. This control is being taken away from us at every turn, no matter what we do online. Most people have no idea it's happening, but most of those who do, would prefer it.
You may be perfectly fine with losing your privacy, regardless of how you might personally want to define it, but most people aren't.
- Not everyone that pays with their information is aware of the risk they are taking.
- Many people that know the the risks are misjudged their probability of coming to bear.