No thanks Google

Om Malik on launching Google Keep after just killing Google Reader:

I spent about seven years of my online life on that service. I sent feedback, used it to annotate information and they killed it like a butcher slaughters a chicken. No conversation — dead. The service that drives more traffic than Google+ was sacrificed because it didn’t meet some vague corporate goals; users — many of them life long — be damned.

Looking from that perspective, it is hard to trust Google to keep an app alive.

I agree completely. How can Google expect users to trust them with an app when they could shut it down at any time. No thanks Google.

  • That’s any product. It can easily be discontinued at any time.

    As for Keep, I dig it. My wife def’ digs it as she’s a big note taker.

    • Yes, but the thing is that if Evernote discontinued it’s product, it would be because the business had failed – its product IS its business. With Google, apart from search, nothing makes money – so everything could be shut down.

      • Yes, the world could end right now too.

        Businesses make decisions all the time to do things we don’t like. Jim has even stated it on previous Amplified as a reality of business (my summation of his points).

        On one hand Apple shuts down a service or stops a device and they’re “focused” but Google does it and they’re somehow evil. I don’t get the double standard.

        Am I happy to see Reader leave? Nope. Will it stop me from using other Google services? Nope. I’ll use what works best for me and Google has #1 products in several categories that I love.

        • yes, but because Google’s so big they shut down useful services far too often, and I think we’ve reached a tipping point.

          I made this same point, maybe a bit less eloquently just a bit earlier as well.

          • So Google Health, which I’ve never heard of, and Wave (a beta research product) are your reasons? Reader is a valid concern but Wave was well known for not being a final product.

            3 doesn’t seem “too often” to me.

            Also consider these services are free. You paid $0 for them and Google had to pay people and maintain servers/etc to keep them up.

            You’re “mad” because they decided to prioritize their efforts and {insert your service} was closed?

          • Those are examples.

          • Understood as such.

          • Google Catalogs, Google Answers, Google Web Accelerator, Lively, Google Sites, SearchWiki, Notebook (recycling FTW), Google Mashup Editor, Dodgeball, Buzz, Jaiku, Knol…this from 5 minutes of research. So what if you never heard or didn’t use any of them? Other people did. It doesn’t undercut the point in the slightest.

            I know you’re the resident contrarian, but you cannot possibly be this obtuse.

          • You googled it? 😀 (sorry, couldn’t resist; lol)

            I’m not the resident contrarian. I just happen to be of a more “open” mindset. (seriously…last one…couldn’t resist)

            I have never argued they haven’t discontinued things. My reference above was to his “too often” comment and providing only 3 examples. Your 5 minute “google” turned up a couple I remember but it still boils down to priorities. None of the one’s you listed comes close to the scale of Reader either and several were probably rolled into other products (ala buzz, answers, and catalogs).

            Every company does something like this. With limited resources, you can’t be all things to all people. Someone will be disappointed along the way.

            Here is my official analysis:

      • dtj

        The thing with Google is that YOU are the product and closing the service means that they don’t care about their product.

  • I definitely see your point, but Apple kill stuff as they see fit too. You might as well say you’ll never trust Apple because you were a life long 30pin user and then they killed it. So what? Products die. Especially if they aren’t making money.

    I think the angle of attack on Google for this is all wrong. It isn’t that they shouldn’t kill reader, they probably should, it’s that they killed everyone else with a free product and then couldn’t make any money on it so are canning it. It’s the same strategy as Android. Dilute with free in the vague hope that they’ll see some tangential return on it through ads. That’s the reason you shouldn’t trust them. If you can’t see how they are going to make money on some app, you shouldn’t use it. They don’t just pick services from a hat and can them.

    • gjgustav

      Apple offered adapters for transitioning. The analogy falls apart.

      • Transitioning for what purpose? Yours or theirs?

        • What does that even mean?

          • He said Apple offered adapters for transitioning. Did you (the user) benefit or was it for their own personal agenda?

          • The users got a smaller adapter they didn’t need to orient right side up to plug in, one that provided a more secure connection and it allowed Apple to move away from a connector that was 6 years old, clunky and bigger than it needed to be.

          • My point exactly: users got barely any immediate benefit (can flip the connector, really?) and Apple made out like crazy selling converters, etc.

            Eventually…we’ll all see the big plan for the connector just as we will for Reader being closed. 😉

          • LOL@Apple raking it in by forcing users to buy adapters. I’m sure a huge chunk of their cash horde was pried from the quivering hands of poor sots who just wanted to use their old 30-pin connectors with their iPhone 5s.

          • At ~$40 a pop…they raked it in for sure!

          • You clearly understand how Apple does things.

          • Pretty much.

  • gjgustav

    Reader was killed because Google didn’t get valuable data from its users. Plain and simple.

    Now if you have no problems giving Google Keep your personal notes, snapshots, etc. then judge whether or not Google will find that data valuable enough to keep running the service.

    I for one, would rather store my data with a company whose business model isn’t mining my personal data to target me with ads.

    • No valuable data? They knew everything you were interested in reading. How is that not valuable?

      It is targeted data at your interests, not just random search queries.

      Oh and you best believe anyone with your data is mining it. It may not be to show you an ad but your data is mined and used in many different scenarios. It is one of the key reasons we, developers, are instructed to collect certain info from users. Data is king.

      • gjgustav

        Google Reader reached a limited demographic. Google Keep is more likely to reach a wider graphic. But feel free to offer your opinion why they killed it. Money talks. If Google killed it, it’s because it didn’t provide enough value.

        As for what “I best believe”, I do believe all companies mine their customer data, but I don’t believe they all do it to sell targeted ads or share with advertisers. I believe Apple mines my data for product development. I’m ok with that. I don’t believe they sell it to advertisers because that’s not how Apple makes money. As for Google,…

        • I don’t have an opinion as to why they killed it. Schmidt said “Priorities” and I take it as such.

          I’m also not comparing data from Keep to data from Reader. You stated “no valuable data” and I countered…that’s all.

          “best believe” is a cliche, nothing personal or aggressive there.

          Any site with an ad has mined your data for ad purposes. It doesn’t mean they sold your data to an advertiser. It means they took your specific data and provided it as a baseline for providing an ad.

      • quietstorms

        Because they were already getting this through ads for most people.

        • True. Again, leads back to Schmidt saying “Priorities” as the reason.

          On one hand, keep paying to keep a service live for free to get data you already get or shut it down? In that vein…easy business decision.

          Great point.

          • quietstorms

            My intent was just to make a statement.

            I miss the Google that wasn’t about priorities. What made Google great wasn’t the Google they are today. It was about giving free roam to exceptional talent. Through this vision came most of their important services like Gmail.

            Today, they are interested in taking over the world and becoming the next MS while they kill the value of open source. What positives have come about from Android being open source since Google solely controls development?

          • They have always had priorities. They just have more now.

            Android being open has provided an OS capable of being used in a myriad of devices and has jump started product development by companies/people not having to recreate the OS wheel.

  • dtj

    Just nuked my Google+ account in protest.

    • LMBO. I’m sure they felt that. 😀 hehe

      • dtj

        Given the number of people that actually use Google+, yes they probably did. Nuking my Facebook acct would have a dramatically lower effect.

    • Nice job! I nuked all of my Google services a while ago. Google reader was the last one I used and they nuked it for me 🙂

  • I have more faith Google keeping Google Keep alive than Reader. From the data mining perspective it makes total sense: ​Reader gave them data on what you read, what sites you’re interested in, but even this was a—potentially huge—haystack from which Google still had to pick the things you’re really interested in, only slightly aided by the fact that you might’ve shared one or the other article using the buttons on Google Reader’s web interface.

    Google Keep will give them insight into the things that are important enough for you to make you save them permanently. It has the potential to give them data more useful than what they get from search, because you’re doing the filtering and the only thing you save are the pertinent bits. It removes a huge amount of uncertainty for them.

    Combine that with data gathered through their search products and various social networks; Google not only knows what it is you’re really interested in, but also how you came to acquire that data in some cases. After a while this’ll make predicting your (re-)search behaviour a lot easier for them.

    Last but not least there’s the data from the real world that you input that Google might’ve had close to no access before. Users will be saving photographs of information they need to remember in there, maybe some documents and other random pieces of data that Google would’ve not seen before. All available for them to analyse and store.

    What this means for Google is the ability to tell their customers that they have a more complete picture of the product (= you) the advertisers are buying.

    As an aside: ​I’ve been an Evernote user for many years, since the first private beta actually, and even though the service has many problems and I’ve stopped using it, I was glad that it has always been a service that didn’t rely on the company selling my data to make money.

    • KvH

      my thoughts too. posted my comments before i saw yours. Google wants to display ads and target those ads at the viewer. Indexing user created content in their own apps is the best way to accomplish that.

    • I’m sick of having to do a strategy review on Google services to try and determine whether they are going to stick around, or get the axe.

      I’m also sick of being the product being sold.

      • Then the solution is rather simple, isn’t it? Don’t use Google’s services.

        Before I switched to Fever° Google Reader was the only service I really used, now I use my GMail address for sites where I might get spammed. If I didn’t need it for the occasional Hangout, I’d delete my Google account right away.

  • quietstorms

    I disagree with Om because he misses the point. Apple kills services too. They killed Hypercard, Safari RSS and MobiileMe hosted sites.

    Here’s the difference between the two:

    Today, when Google starts a project they think about how they can gather more user info. This is what Glass and self-driving cars are about. Apple wants to make the user happy and hopefully they’ll buy their hardware because of it.

    It’s intent that is the difference in a world of shades of gray.

  • KvH

    Not sure how people can say Google Docs is a core app but Keep won’t be. They both do pretty similar things.

    Google’s core business is advertising. and they prefer targeted advertising.

    So to me any service they add that allows 2 things will usually be kept by Google:

    1) Display ads to you 2) Index (and use to target ads at you) content you’ve created

    Google Reader failed on both. 3rd party clients weren’t required to display google ads. And it could index content you claimed to be reading/starring, but not much content you created. They could index RSS feeds but the targeting provided by that isn’t nearly as good as indexing content you create.

    gmail, keep, docs, google+, even Orkut etc… all meet these requirements.

    That said, i probably won’t be switching my Evernote notes to Google Keep. I like Evernote (i’ve a paid account) and hope they continue to grow. The area I think Google might be better than evernote: simultaneous editing by multiple users. Google Docs does this great. It doen’t work at all with Evernote. I’m hoping evernote gets better at this.

  • Every time I read another story reminding me Reader is going away I get all mad and bitter again. I’m so angry with Google I might cancel my pre-order for the Sony Xperia Tablet Z and just wait for the next iPad. Android and the Google ecosystem had been growing on me. Assholes.

    • There is hope! I just saw this on Twitter: Google reverses decision to kill Reader.

      Embarrassed Data Science team: “We accidentally showed Larry & Sergey the Google+ usage numbers.” – @TechCrunchOnion 3/21/13 9:58 AM