I’ve read a lot of opinions on the death of Google Reader today from “good riddance” to “Stella!” (and boy aren’t we going to feel funky if next week they decide not to kill it,) but I’ve not passed much of it along. However, I’m sharing this one because I believe John Paul Titlow gets it right:
There’s something unnerving about a service you use every day disappearing, even if the decision has perfectly sound business rationale behind it. It reminds us that the Web isn’t ours and that the existence of these products is totally dependent on the whim of some corporation, which can pull the plug at any time. We have no say in the matter.
Shutdowns like this force people to reevaluate their relationship with their favorite places on the Web. It makes those relationships feel less secure. And as Techdirt wisely points out, it should make us all wary of relying to heavily on a single provider for our online existence.
It makes us wonder: if five years down the road Google decides that Gmail isn’t making enough money, will they kill that too? Probably not. What about Google Calendar? What will be on the "spring cleaning" list in 2017? We have no way of knowing.
User trust is an incredibly important commodity for Google. They need it if we’re going to let them track our browsing habits and host our email. And they’re certainly going to need it if we’re going to let them drive our cars and build computers to wear on our faces.
Things like this make Google look less humane, less compassionate. It might not have been huge, but there was a very dedicated community of users on Google Reader. Shutting the lights out on all those people, even if they do have viable alternatives, just makes it feel like Google doesn’t give a damn. It seems arrogant.
Read the full article @ readwrite.