Daily Archives: August 13, 2015

Have online services finally figured out the idea of a family?

Holly and I use a lot of online services – video watching, e-book reading, gaming, music, apps… And all of these work off of individual accounts. When we met, we already had accounts with a lot of the big names – Apple, Amazon, things like that. As we started to grow collections like Kindle books and iPhone apps, we were doing so in parallel accounts.

That meant for us to share Kindle books, we were having to use each other’s Kindles, for Apps we’ve had to buy a number of duplicates. For music, we’d have to burn a CD to share, which we often forgot to do so it was hard to share music. For downloading movies or TV shows, we always had to figure out which account or computer to put it on.

However, of late this problem seems to be going away. I’m not sure how long all of these options have been a thing, but once we found one, we went hunting for others and were not disappointed.

I think it started with Apple, who were advertising their new Family accounts earlier this year. This let us finally connect our Apple accounts, giving us access to each others’ Apps (useful for, for instance, the Board Game apps we had only bought on one account each) and music (great for all those albums we had never shared). It also meant that who had which TV shows or movies didn’t matter, and we could make those decisions more on whose computer has more HD space.

Then we went and looked at Amazon, and found that it finally also has family accounts! Which is great, and was just in time – we could both have easy access to the baby-related Kindle books we’ve gotten, and things like that. It also removes a lot of the issue with us making one of our two accounts into a Prime account. Sadly, we have not found any way to really run a joint Wish List yet, so there’s room for improvement on Amazon yet!

There’s family Gold now on X-Box, though we dropped Gold there just because we haven’t had a ton of gaming time there (and have been on the PS3 more). When we added NetFlix back recently the account can be set up with different viewers – which was bad when it came to setting up the data settings, as Holly mentioned, and which is good with the Kids option which we’ll eventually make use of.

All in all, it feels like the Internet finally has some idea of taking these individual user accounts, and linking them within a household. Which is the sort of thing that users have been awkwardly trying to do for ages. It’s going to happen, so it’s good that they’ve made ways to try and make it easy.

How about you – any services like this that you’ve found, or any you wish would add a family option? Let us know in the comments below!

Advertisements