Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hysteria Over Google Dropping Its Reader

I like Google Reader. I use it every day. I've got a nice well organized collection of RSS feeds and I like its spartan look, even though Feedly is probably technically better. But I pretty much shrugged off the news that Google is dropping it. Google regularly prunes under-utilized products and introduces new ones.  I wasn't shocked or even really annoyed, just mildly disappointed. I appreciated that I will be able to use it until July 1st. That's a pretty lengthy advance notice.

I guess I underreacted. Since then, I've seen several over-the-top, near-hysterical reactions to the loss of Reader. No one seemed to care much when it was available, but boy when Google announced it was dropping it, huge uproar. It reminds me of Google's announcement not long ago that there are no more free Google apps accounts. If you want it, you have to shell out $5 per user per month. Horrors! I have one of the free accounts and they were nice enough to grandfather the free accounts. It was unnecessary as I would have paid but I appreciate it.

So here's what people are saying about Google for dropping Reader: They are not to be trusted and we won't use your new products, such as the just-announced Google Keep, so there!
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. What if I spend months using the app, and then Google decides it doesn’t meet some arbitrary objective? 
Like a butcher slaughters a chicken!? Ha ha ha... Sorry buddy, it isn't being dropped because of a "vague corporate objective"  it was because not enough people are using it! And it's free... FREE you ingrate!

Here's what another outraged blogger has to say about Google's new noteaking app, Keep:
"Sounds great, right? Another cloud-based service from Google in which you can keep useful information and access it from anywhere. There’s just one problem here – it’s from Google, which has developed the nasty habit of killing off products into which users invest time and energy to set up."
They sound like high school nerds dropped by their girlfriends: "I'll never love again!"

Here's what Google itself wrote, on March 13th: "
"We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We’re sad too. There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience. To ensure a smooth transition, we’re providing a three-month sunset period so you have sufficient time to find an alternative feed-reading solution. If you want to retain your Reader data, including subscriptions, you can do so through Google Takeout. Thank you again for using Reader as your RSS platform."
Users of Google Reader got a pop-up notice on the 13th when we logged on to Reader so we couldn't miss it. Not only is Google giving us three and a half months notice, they are providing the tool to move our feeds to another service!

Grow up people, grow up.