This is what pisses me off about Google Reader

Khoi Vinh:

It’s a decision that has infuriated many, partly because when the company launched Google Reader in 2005, its free price tag undercut and then virtually destroyed the market for competitive products.

Soon enough, Google Reader had become a de facto industry standard, even as it became more and more apparent over the years that the company cared little for the market that it had come to own.


  • gjgustav

    Similar to how Microsoft bought FoxBase to kill off dBase, then let FoxBase(later FoxPro) languish in an effort to switch users over to the Windows-only Access.

  • It makes me think that one day, Android may fall in to the Spring Cleaning bin in favour for Chrome OS – Or vice verca

  • Open!

  • Google made a great product and gave it away for free.

    Am I supposed to be upset because someone else could have made money on the same service?

    Google’s out now, so have at it everyone who think there’s a market to be had.

    • Steven Fisher

      It’s called “dumping.” I’m not sure you should be upset, but you should probably be concerned.

      If you think cheap Chinese goods at Walmart are bad, it’s hard to justify ignoring a web service developed specifically to kill a market.

    • Gmail is free too. Would you be mad if they decided to pull the plug on that some day?

      • Not quite the same thing. RSS is free and has not disappeared. When Google reader is gone, the RSS is still there. Just find another way to read it. If Gmail goes, your email goes with it. It’s not like you can open up another product and read Gmail if Gmail doesn’t exist.

        • Now I’m actually a bit worried about how dependant I am on my gmail. The idea of not having control over the domain that you use as more or less your ID on the net. Most of my emails are on domains I own, but gmail still has my most used mails

          • That’s a tough realisation to have. I’m completely reliant on iCloud for my email and haven’t had much of a problem since I signed up for Apple’s email solution back when it was still called ‘.Mac’, but recent finding about keyword filtering have me scratching my head.

            What I’m probably going to do—short of going full-neckbeard and hosting everything on my own server at home—is find a dependable Hosted Exchange (2007 or 20210) provider and connect it to some of my domains.

            As for RSS, I self-host on a dedicated server using Fever°.

          • Steven Fisher

            While Apple could technically shut down your email tomorrow, one mitigating factor for iCloud is that Mail on the Mac downloads everything. Even if the way the server’s shut down causes the local cache to be wiped clean, it’ll still be in Time Machine.

            This is not true of gmail.

          • That mitigating factor holds true for GMail, too, does it not? I have one remaining Google account and my mails are all saved locally, just like my iCloud emails.

          • Steven Fisher

            If you’re downloading all of it locally, sure. But that’s not really the way gmail is intended to work.

          • I suppose so. I’m still thinking in terms of IMAP4, so it looks like I’m behind the times 🙂

      • How would you feel about that should Google decide to deprecate any kind of export functionality or IMAP access before it pulls the plug? Imagine Google locking you into GMail beforehand and then simply deleting all your stuff?

        Then again, as Joel correctly pointed out, Google Reader is an interface for RSS, not the only way to view RSS feeds, so you cannot really compare them.

    • matthewmaurice

      Yep, so the moral of the story is “make sure the Google product you use is generating sufficient ad revenue before you come to depend on it.”

    • I think it’s also important to say that there are still lots of ways to read/view RSS. It’s not like RSS is a proprietary Google thing like Wave.

    • That so cute. It wasn’t valid when it was used to defend Microsft. It is not valid now.

  • Kevin Behringer

    So completely agree. Everyone is saying, “Well, if you want your software to stick around, you need to pay for it.” Guess what, when Google came into the RSS world, no one else could make a go of it, so there was no option to pay. Now, we’re scrambling

  • samdchuck

    Well, the Google Reader API was never officially released or supported by Google. The fact that app developers made it the de facto standard is pretty ridiculous, yet somehow they (app developers, not google) made it happen.

    I don’t like that they’re shutting it down, but blaming Google for taking away a feature that it never supported is kinda silly. Sure the reader app itself is good, but hardly the most upseeting thing to the industry. If not for the standard adoption of the API by developers this would have been an entirely different situation.

  • Semi-Evil

    Another example of Google using classic Microsoft tactics to destroy markets and competitors. Not surprisng given the number of ex-Microsoft managers working at Google these days.

    Expect this type of bullshit to continue as they use every trick they can to push crap like Google+ and WebM.

  • thismarty

    “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.” lives on.

  • Lukas

    Still waiting for the article where Dalrymple complains about how people are “stealing” poor Google’s APIs, the thieves!

    • Mother Hydra

      rabble rabble rabble herp-de derpa derp

  • matthewmaurice

    Someone needs to tell Khoi that this is exactly what happens when the end-user is NOT the customer. If Reader was generating ads, or even good data, Google would be continuing it, but it’s obviously not.

    • Mother Hydra

      Yes, I imagine this figured heavily into their plans

  • I was really pissed about it but then I realised that it’s a step forward for a Google-free life for me. Now I only use their search engine.

  • Mother Hydra

    Tyler Durden would probably say “You are not Google’s customer”

    As someone that was using stuff like Netnewswire WELL before Google Reader came on the scene, I saw the whole RSS software market crumble before my eyes as people looked at all the options and shrugged their shoulders, saying “Reader is good enough I guess”

    And then, just like IE, we got introduced to a dark age for RSS. It stayed techy and away from the reach of normal users that would have benefitted from free and open competition. And feedburner? I could go on and on about why I can’t wait for Galaxy to replace Android if, for not other reason, to soundly issue a defeat to Google for cocking up this whole other, unrelated area of Internet technology. I’m spiteful that way.

    Google stifled and killed of an entire area that was ripe for innovation by introducing what was really only a middling product at its best. I’ll take Newsblur any day over Google, I like to pay for my services.


    Only if Jim complains about Apple removing RSS from Safari which many depended on and Apple recommended Google Reader as alternative.

  • KvH

    This is not Microsoft tatics. Microsoft would drive other products out of a market, then sell it’s solution. Cornering a market then shutting down the market is a poor way to make money. Microsoft wasn’t that dumb.

  • Tvaddic

    Isn’t Google creating a market by killing the project? A bunch of smaller companies are creating alternatives, when they had Reader no one even tried.

    • As others have said, there was a market before Google started Reader. They destroyed it. Just as MS destroyed commercial software like Netscape by introducing a free IE.

      Others had to charge for their apps and eventually even their service. Google gave it away for free and, that is actually the worst part, funded from money made from an online advertising monopoly (monopoly in the sense of de facto dictating the conditions of that market, not as in ‘being the only one’). They did similar things with Gmail and Docs. Similar services (with high storage amounts, large attachment sizes etc.) were previously not available for free. Google forced the entire market to follow, but the entire market does not have Google’s ad revenues.

      It is really just classic anti-competitive behavior, and whoever is in charge of controlling that, is sleeping at the wheel.

      • Tvaddic

        So they should keep shoving money and engineering talent to this small market,where they don’t make any money? They didn’t force anything, they created a good product, there were a lot of free Google services no one used because they were terrible.