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When will Google shut down Stadia? (stadiacountdown.com)
824 points by naeemnur 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 638 comments



A good model will be to start working on a new startup with a competing product as soon as google launches something. In couple of years when they shut down, provide migration paths. Swim in $$$.


This is, to some extent, what Feedly did. They started off as a really nice, somewhat niche magazine-style news reader built on Google Reader. When Google Reader shut down, it was in their best interest to implement the API themselves. They had the very clever idea to make that a _public_ API, just like Google Reader, so in the end all kinds of apps and services wanted to use it, and it seems they're doing really well. (I'm still a big fan of their own news reader, and have a Feedly t-shirt somewhere…). I'd be very interested to hear the full story of the Google Reader debacle from their end :)


Feedly was amazingly positioned for that. Their two signature featuers were: 1.) it looked and worked almost exactly like Google Reader, and 2.) it could import your Google Reader feeds with one click.

Within months of Google announcing Reader's closing, Feedly had acquired something like 8 million new users. Amazing stroke of fortune for a well-deserving product. I still happily use the free version.


2) is what almost every new service could do.

And 1) I don’t understand. Feedly was one of the first ones I tried, and none of the settings I tried got me close to a headline-only view that I used in GReader. I used Newsblur for a while and am on TT-RSS nowadays. But Feedly always seemed to cater more to those people who enjoy image-heavy subreddits and full-page hero images, or pinterest.

Nothing I tried with Feedly got me a simple, no distraction one-line, click to expand downwards view.

Note that all of this was around when GReader closed, no idea what changed.


Odd, I was able to get a headline only view almost immediately. I believe the display option said something like "most like Google Reader". Titles-only View is what I am using now.


I remember something like this, but everything took up more space.

edit: Just decided to log in and check ;) So what I didn’t like was the way it popped up from the side instead of actually doing what GReader (and TT-RSS and Newsblur) can do: Simply popping down the current article, and not switching the view.


They added this view after Google announced Reader would be shutting down. I was one of the people asking for a headline view like Reader had.


>And 1) I don’t understand. Feedly was one of the first ones I tried, and none of the settings I tried got me close to a headline-only view that I used in GReader.

I am pretty sure that I tried Feedly in the post-"Oh no, Google Reader is going away!" panic everyone else using the service was in at the time, and like you I could not replicate the feel. The Old Reader was the closest alternative I found among the several I tried, but soon afterwards Inoreader appeared with a very, very, very close-to-Google Reader feel, and I've been extremely happy on it ever since. (If only Inoreader would correctly open the comment link and not the original article in the HN RSS feed.)


1) same, I found http://www.ighome.com and it looked almost like a copy of my Google setup.

Even though I don't use any of the Pro features, I still pay for Pro to help support in anyway I think I can. Love Feedly.


if someone's looking for an rss reader recommendation - i tried feedly, but inoreader is my favorite by far

(not affiliated, just a v happy user)


I am pretty sure that I tried Feedly in the post-"Oh no, Google Reader is going away!" panic everyone else using the service was in at the time, and could not replicate the feel. The Old Reader was the closest alternative I found among the several I tried, but soon afterwards Inoreader appeared, and I've been extremely happy on it ever since. (If only Inoreader would correctly open the comment link and not the original article in the HN RSS feed.)


> If only Inoreader would correctly open the comment link and not the original article in the HN RSS feed

I'm pretty sure that's down to HN themselves choosing to put the original article's URL into each entry's "link" field


I also like and use Inoreader. It's better than any other service I tested (especially Feedly), and very lightweight and Google Reader-esque.

To be honest, however, I was disappointed with the recent price increases and other changes. I have a grandfathered Pro account that I'm paying $18/year for until 2021 (with a 40% off coupon). Then my options will be to either pay $50/year for a much more limited service (only 30 rules instead of unlimited, only 30 filtered feeds instead of unlimited), or reject the price increase and go back to a "supporter" account, which doesn't have any perks and costs $20/year, more than I'm paying now for Pro.


For those that remember Google Notebook, this is also what Evernote did 10 years ago. It's why I've been using Evernote for 10 years and why I'll never use Google Keep.

https://www.cnet.com/news/evernotes-google-notebook-importer...


Is Feedly swimming in money?


I wonder about the damage Google does to any potential start ups in a field.

How much buzz can you get when everyone’s first thought is “how could this be any good? Google already tried that and failed...”


I don't know, Google has failed at all kinds of products that other companies have achieved massive success with. This includes some really ubiquitous tools like a social network (Google+) or messaging apps (too many to list). I think at this point most people assume a failed project from Google has more to do with the company than the concept itself.


A few days ago I was researching a bug I was seeing using with xfce on chrome remote desktop. Apparently this was thoroughly solved in someone's Google+ post that everyone linked to. All I can see now is the Google+ termination notice. Thanks, Google.


Google was one party in that. The other was the person who choose to gave Google the content to post. When we choose to give content and power to a few, large, centralized organizations, that's on us.


What would you have expected them to do? Would you point to the user if Stack Overflow stopped hosting content? Or GitHub? Before places like imgur, I'd see forum postings linking to broken images hosted on personal sites--so self hosting is unfeasible. Geocities data is still around as well as Usenet postings going back to the 80s.


> Stack Overflow

... which licenses its content with CC by SA 4.0[1] and has a public API.

Other licensing models of content will vary.

[1] https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/333089/stack-exchan...


This is an important point. Someone else is allowed to use the StackOverflow content and likely would if StackOverflow was turned off.

I do think that is worth noting, but it is (mostly) separate from the original point. It doesn't matter if the copyright is open if the content disappears.

At least in the U.S., I don't think it's that relevant to the use-cases I've seen. IANAL, but in the 4-factor fair use test a place like Internet Archive rehosting the content to me easily clears 3 of them if the original host goes away.


These days IPFS is getting closer to being a real alternative.

Check the Internet Archive. I want to say they grabbed a copy of all the Google+ posts, but I might be wrong.


They did; I just looked up someone's post about USB-C standards the other day


But these are all things where Google was late to the game and didn't succeed in taking someone's crown. So it's an interesting question: How does Google failing at some product that isn't already a well established concept impact the consumer's sentiment towards the idea behind it.


FWIW Google had orkut long before facebook became a success and moved out of colleges. Google had gtalk long before WhatsApp was conceived.


Orkut was pretty much killed in the English speaking world by the Brazilian Portuguese speakers which took over any group which was created. They pushed every photography, climbing and Linux group to the point where, as a non-Portuguese speaker, the site became way more noise than signal. You could flash a group as being for a specific language, but it wasn't enforced when someone violated this. Orkut admins ignored complaints and the malfeasanant posters rebutted with something which might translated to "who's going to make me?"

So, it became a useless site because there were no teeth to the rules.


>Orkut was pretty much killed in the English speaking world by the Brazilian Portuguese speakers which took over any group which was created. They pushed every photography, climbing and Linux group to the point where, as a non-Portuguese speaker, the site became way more noise than signal.

This is the source of the HUEHUEHUE meme https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/huahuehuahue . There's even an academic study on the Brazilian online cultural traits that cause such problems in Orkut! https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265844216_'HUEHUEHU...


Microsoft had MSN Messenger, there was ICQ and many others, and there was "always" IRC etc., and frankly things were great with gAIM, Pidgin and other messenger aggregators until Google Talk switched off access for third-party apps and launched Hangouts...


I remember my whole family was in gtalk and other jabber talkers. The funny thing they were usable on mobile long before android/ios phones. There were JavaME clients that could run on many common phones. I still miss T9.

GTalk was really in a position to be the #1 messenger.


Sad thing was google+ and the control it offered was nice. The tech communities on G+ were wonderful but for the average person they were just too entrenched in facebooks ever growing social iron fist.


What google considers success is not the same as what others consider a success. $10m revenue is huge for a lot of startups.

For google it's just a distraction that needs to be culled.


I seriously doubt that's everyone's first thought. I know my first thought when Google launches a product is: "this will suck and I'm not even going to bother trying it". Experience as trained me to avoid Google products and look for migrations away from things I'm stuck with that they executed well on in the distant past (email, maps, search, browser).


The criteria for failure at Google is very different from that for a startup.

For eg. Allo was considered a failure because it had 'only' 10 million DAU in first 8 months. For a startup that would be like hitting a jackpot.


More importantly, how many start ups are already in the field that go out of business because Google uses their resources to undercut or out-advertise the existing start up, only to abandon it after the competitors have all been killed?


Google "failures" can have millions of happy users... if google ejected 10m users, and you can gain say 1/10th of those, 1m, and even 10% paying $5/month that's $500k/month of gross income. Depending on your needs, a well designed system to support 1m users or so could be done under $50-100k/month, leaving $400k/month for staff and profit.

While it may not make sense at Google Scale, it can absolutely make sense for a small business spinoff.


I (and plenty of other people) love and make use of services up until the second they are killed by Apple/Google/etc. Just because a big tech firm doesn't like the product doesn't mean it isn't viable as a smaller business.


You can do that endlessly. The reaction to Stadia could well have been “how could this be any good? OnLive already tried that and failed...”.


How does one provide migration paths when Google owns the data, licenses, etc. on their servers?

Just one of many ways that Service as a Software Substitute reduces user freedom.


Google will provide you with downloads your data for a lot of their projects: https://takeout.google.com/


But for stadia, where the game licenses, executables, and probably save games probably can't be exported legally, how does one provide a migration paths once Google inevitably says "servers are shutting down in three months. You will lose access to everything on that date. We will give you a month free or something that in no way makes up for the service shutting down and you losing everything"


Well, what will happen when Google Play Music (or Spotify or Apple Music's subscription store or...) inevitably announces a shutdown in 3 months?

Spotify's been running strong for like 13 years, GPM is about to turn 10, etc. None of those people have been bitten yet, and there's literally hundreds of millions of them.


Google Play Music/Spotify/Apple Music is next to free to run, it's basically just a CDN on their end. There's almost no user data that didn't come from user machines originally.

Stadia has all the user data on the backend, _and_ is expensive to run since all the processing happens on their end too.


Reading spotify's most recent filing, there was an increase in its compute costs of ~25 million dollars in 3Q2019 when compared to 3Q2018, mentioned in a footnote. In other words, a compute cost increase of $100 million a year was a footnote. That was an increase of about 1.5% of their gross operating income. The full hosting costs are not public, but we're easily talking hundreds of millions a quarter. Practically free?


So, an increase of about $1/yr/user? Including I'm sure all of the money they're wasting training half baked ML models? Yeah, that's pretty damn close to free.

Now compare that to stadia which'll probably be dedicating high CPU and GPU to each logged in user, in addition to the low latency video compression hardware they're pretty much guaranteed to have?


Google Play Music IS shutting down. Anyday now ... probably in a year max.

They say they won't until YouTube music has feature parity but I don't believe it.

I may sound bitter ...


> Google Play Music IS shutting down

Well, sort of. But relevant to the original question posed: are users of GPM losing their suscribed content? No.


Depends if the catalogs are the same or not (currently not) and if they allow to upload your music on YTM (currently not).

I think the GDPR makes it illegal to not allow exporting save games. Resolving that conflict would be Google's problem.

That would be fine under GDPR actually.

Why do you think article 20 doesn't apply here?

https://gdpr-info.eu/art-20-gdpr/


Except when it doesnt work and there is no way to report it/contact someone. Takeout was never able to return my YT comments.

Sure but how would that work for Stadia?


With Stadia, this concept probably relates more to game saves more so than games. [0] It's just your data—finding something that can use the data is another story.

That's beside the point, though—my reply, it's parent and it's grandparent were discussing Google products generally, not Stadia specifically.

[0] I realize that Takeout doesn't support Stadia. Though, for two different Stadia titles (Destiny 2's "cross-play" and NBA2K20's "MyPlayer"), I was prompted to log into a publisher account where my data could be linked/stored or something.


That would be true if you're thinking of Stadia as a subscription to get access to an all you can eat buffet of games (ie Netflix for games) but that's not the primary model proposed. The primary Stadia purchase model is that you buy games on Stadia and then get "free" unlimited streaming of them. In that case if they were to shutdown the user has to get something back, preferably the game...


> In that case if they were to shutdown the user has to get something back, preferably the game...

Legally or ethically?


For our favorite example, Google Reader, you could export your list of feeds, and import them into (e.g.) Newsblur.


But that can't apply to stadia.


It can; you have to buy the games on Stadia. _Hopefully_, there will be a way to export those licenses out of Stadia.


Can you think of any other system like that which allows you to export licenses to games? AFAIK, that's unprecedented in the industry, and explicitly against the contracts I've seen.

Edit: Steam will let you _import_ a CD key, but that's the closest I can think of, and there's no way to export once it's in steam.


When the Ultraviolet movie service shutdown they had some mechanism to prevent users losing their purchased content. I don't know how it worked exactly but ultimately it must have been some kind of license transfer. I don't think it's a huge stretch to imagine something similar being applied to video games.


Ultraviolet wasn't a service really AFAIK, it was a DRM scheme that brokered licenses to other services. those other services could continue running off of the cached licenses, but there's no way to re auth licenses for Ultraviolet works you have but haven't registered yet.


Yeah, I'd be surprised if they'd give anything more than a refund, and probably only a partial one. It isn't really practical to do anything else for a service like this.


Well. They just announced Google Cloud Print's death [1] so, anyone interested?

[1] https://9to5google.com/2019/11/21/google-cloud-print-dead-20...


I seem to remember that Google Cloud Print was the only way you were supposed to print on early Chromebooks.

At least the current Chromebooks let you print on a networked printer.


Sunset Chasers™


Just dont sell the startup to google again and keep building the same product over and over again. :)


Tell that to Craig Walker[1]:

* Founds telephony company Dialpad, sells to Yahoo. (I think it was the basis of Yahoo's search-via-phone-call service.)

* Founds telephony company Grand Central, sells to Google, is basis of Google Voice.

* Founds telephony company Dialpad (he bought back the name and domain).

[1] https://www.businessinsider.com/google-voice-founders-raised...


The worlds first recursive startup.


Become Trillionaire??!!


That only works for products people actually like. I can think of maybe one product where this was a good model.


Google Reader?


Exactly


People liked Google Inbox too; that’s two including Google Reader.

They remove you from search results and you go bankrupt.


When I search for rss reader on Google, Feedly is the second result right under a roundup article listing Google Reader alternatives.



That's a competitor to a product that Google is very clearly not shutting down.


Your post reminds me of those occasional posts where an entrepreneur will post something like: I started a company and now Google has built a near exact copy. Something in the past the entrepreneur should have been worried about. Now, I agree with you: Sit back and wait for Google to pull it, and profit.

idlewords did something similar with pinboard.in, only

1. It was Yahoo (del.icio.us) not Google and

2. I think he didn't start until at a later stage.

(I'm an happy early user of pinboard.in)


I understand the cynicism of this community to Stadia but implore you all to think a little broader.

Stadia is different, with this product Google is trying something really innovative. For one, the fact that Stadia actually costs money should be a signal of Google's long term ambition here. Yes, Fiber also cost money but was bogged down by the hell that is infrastructure development.

Stadia will require a substantial engineering effort from Google to make this work. The latency and network requirements are a great test to gauge network requirements as we move into 5g, AR, and self driving cars.

Gaming is huge and if Google can be the first to provide (viable) steaming as a service they can really threaten some of the incumbents like Twitch, Sony, Microsoft, etc.

Obviously Google doesn't have the best track record here but I'm excited to see them tackle this challenge.


Glass cost money, more than 10x what this cost, and that was not a signal of their long term ambition.

The problem with Stadia is that it costs money, the service costs a monthly fee, and on top of it you have to buy the games. What happens to those games if you stop paying the fee? If you stop using Stadia? If Google deprecates Stadia like many are worried. I'll tell you: you lose the game.

If I, conversely, buy the same $60 game on Steam, I know it'll be there years down the road, that I'll be able to play it on any PC I build, and I don't have to maintain a monthly fee for it.

What Google is trying has been tried many times before, by people who had more permissive game ownership structures.

Do not tell us we shouldn't be worried about using such a product from Google given their track record -- especially when the costs to them are enormous in terms of computing power and the reception has been very tepid (meaning those costs are larger per-user than they likely anticipated).


> "...it costs money, the service costs a monthly fee, and on top of it you have to buy the games."

WHAT? I've been under a rock and I assumed that it was a service where you buy a controller, already own a streaming device (or maybe the controller has the device in it), and pay monthly for the whole service. You have to buy the games too?

That is an immediate about-face for me. If they shut down the service then I just stop paying the monthly fee. This is perfectly comfortable for any service. But if I have to buy-in to every game...


The OP is incorrect, but in the opposite direction than you are thinking. The monthly subscription is optional (it gets you 4k streaming, instead of 1080p, and discounts / free games similar to Playstation Plus or similar). You do have to buy the games.

So yeah, if they discontinue Stadia it is an open question what happens to the games you purchased on it. They have avoided questions on it, unsurprisingly.


Subscription gets you "up to" 4k, right now none of the titles is true 4k, they are upscaled from lower resolution 1080p or 1440p.


Yeah, that part is pretty crazy. I wonder if that is just up to the game developers, or if they were given a limited compute budget and the current 1080p / 1440p base resolutions were the best they could get? Maybe Stadia can't deliver the needed latencies at full native 4k?

Unless I am misunderstanding, the 4k up-res is happening on Google's side, so it's not like they are skimping on bandwidth.


Upscaled on the device you already paid for, yet somehow need a subscription to use the upscaling.


No, it is upscaled on the google side, before it is sent over the net.

I agree, if they had launched a subscription service to a large catalog of games that would have been really something -- like how Netflix created an alternative to the buy/rent single titles model.

I suspect they didn't have enough clout with development studios to create that pricing structure.

As an example, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey is $59.99 on Stadia ($39.99 with subscription for 4K). On Steam it's currently $59.99 too, but at 4K without the extra subscription.

Game distribution is a hyper-competitive market right now, with Epic Games in particular giving away high quality games for free every week on their Steam competitor and paying developers up front to get timed exclusives.

I think Google's going to have to re-visit its pricing and customer acquisition model on this one.


> On Steam it's currently $59.99 too, but at 4K without the extra subscription.

But with a requirement for a $400-$1300 graphics card, depending on the FPS and quality you want. And no hope of running it at 4K on most laptops.


> And no hope of running it at 4K on most laptops.

Most laptops also don't have 4K screens, so it's a moot point.


Perhaps. But I just decided to look at Google Play Movies for the first time in years, and to watching some Avengers movie on there is 18 SGD (approx. 12 EUR). For one movie.

I'm not saying their Games strategy will mirror the one taken for Movies, but I'd advice waiting to see what will happen.


It's entirely possible this is just a licensing thing. The early days of legal movie and music downloads were an expensive mess too.

I'd expect after a few years of game streaming competition someone will try to undercut the market with a Netflix model.


Microsoft is curenlty alpha testing its xcloud service by the looks of it, which encompasses exactly that. There is also the Nvidia streaming service too.

[flagged]


There is a no monthly fee version that you only have to buy games to use eventually that will be limited to 1080p streams. 4k costs a monthly fee + the cost of games though they are saying there will be some discounts to games if you're paying for the better service.


But the issue is that the games with 4k, are currently only upscaled to 4k - https://9to5google.com/2019/11/20/stadia-4k-games-quality/


Oh yeah the whole thing is kind of a shit show right now but that's what they're pitching so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt for the moment and treating this like one big early access trial for the minute. From all indications this launch came in incredibly hot with the lineup doubling at the last minute, almost as if they had some last minute major issues with some of their Linux ports.


Two of those games are motion type games (dance, exercise).

The stadia controller doesn’t have motion controls.

Those games are useless, who’ll pay $60 for them?


You use your phone for those iirc.

To me, I see it as an alternative to Steam or the Epic Store. They provide a free service, I just pay for the games I want to get.

(the subscription is optional, gives you discounts and free games, so it might be a good deal for some people)


Don't be all negative. At the very least Google would pay engineers like us a decent salary to enhance the technology to keep CPU away from Keyboard/Mouse/Screen. By the time Google is done with this and decommission their service, we would be walking around with the new "Mac 2025" which is scuba diving water proof with CPU and OS hosted on iCloud available for a $1000/year subscription.


I don’t disagree with your main point about losing games, but the fee is strictly for Stadia Pro, which permits 4K and 5.1 surround sound. Stadia Base is free and will launch in February, but only permits up to 1080p and stereo sound. You still obviously also need to buy the games though (except F2P). They’re using the “Founder’s Edition” almost like Early Access. If you have Stadia Pro and you stop paying, you lose access to the free games that are included with Pro, which right now are Destiny 2 and Samurai Showdown. This is the same as Xbox Live Gold and the Free Games with Gold. You don’t lose access to the games you purchased if you stop paying for Pro.


> If you have Stadia Pro and you stop paying, you lose access to the free games that are included with Pro, which right now are Destiny 2 and Samurai Showdown. This is the same as Xbox Live Gold and the Free Games with Gold.

Games With Gold are actually free. You need the Gold membership to get them, but you can unsubscribe - they're yours.

Edit: You may be thinking of Game Pass, which behaves in the way you describe.


Nope. I’m not mistaken. What you’re talking about only applies to Xbox 360. For Xbox One, you lose access to your claimed Free Games with Gold when your subscription lapses until you resubscribe. The same is true for the free games to PlayStation Plus subscribers.


Yes on the 360 because its Store was never built with Memberships in mind. No on the Xbox One (and PC where applicable) where a lapse in your Gold status will make those games unplayable until you rejoin.


Destiny 2 is free on Steam, no gold needed.

If I could play high-end complex modern AAA games like RDR2 on my iPad Pro while traveling, I think there's a valuable proposition there. But ironically that's exactly the area where Stadia falls flat: internet connections are weak or nonexistent while traveling, and currently it's not even usable from an iPad.


This is the thing I don't get.

Who precisely is this concept even marketable to? People with high speed internet, that also can't afford a gaming console?

But can afford a device capable of handling all of the inputs & playback of the video.

So lets low ball and say a $140 chromebook.

+ the cost of the games.

How many people is this? Genuinely.


Well I bought stadia. With 3 young kids and a busy job i don't have a lot of time to game so I want something where I can just sit down and game. No wasting time downloading/installing games. No patches. Just games ready to play.

A second point, sometimes i play coop games with my wife. Its nice not needing 2 consoles or gaming pc's. One can play on the TV and the other on a tablet or cheap laptop.


I don't doubt your motivation here and am not going to sit her and debunk your thought process - but I do wonder how many people match your template, which seems to be "people who want to play AAA games but not very much".

I game on PC, my kids use PC and consoles, and I can't say that "downloading/installing games" is a significant time sink - and if your network isn't good, Stadia isn't going to work either.

The other thing that I think will break the Stadia business model is that the free access costs Google money unless it recoups the spending on the games. So while we're hearing about reasonably competitive Day 1 prices for games, will we see the pattern of discounting that all other games go through? Second-hand console games?

It just feels like it's aiming at a niche while building out a huge system that's only going to be viable if it achieves mass adoption.


I think it has it can have its uses, even if it's not great for every single situation.

For example, say you want to play a particular new game but don't have the hardware for it. Stadia could be a good option to quickly get to play without having to buy new hardware.

Say I have a decent PC for most days and small games, but I'd like to try the new Forza Horizon because it looks fun. I could very well get it on Stadia. I'm not worried about losing access in 10 years, it's just to have some fun for a few months.

Actually for games with pretty high requirements such as the future Microsoft Flight Simulator, streaming could be the best option for most people.


> A second point, sometimes i play coop games with my wife. Its nice not needing 2 consoles or gaming pc's. One can play on the TV and the other on a tablet or cheap laptop.

Unless you have (particularly good) fiber, this probably won't happen. The bandwidth requirements are too high.

> No wasting time downloading/installing games. No patches. Just games ready to play.

FWIW, all of the current generation consoles (even the Switch) have a standby mode that will let them patch your games while you're not playing, meaning that in most cases when you go to play, you can immediately play. They'll even download pre-ordered games without your input.

The only time you would need to be concerned about download times is when you're purchasing a new game for the first time. That's typically a one-time event per game.


I do have gigabit fiber.

On my Xbox I often don't get around to pre-ordering games and there is limited disk space so if I want to play a old game I have to wait again.


A bigger harddrive for your xBox would cost less than the Stadia controller.


Only if you dont factor in the cost of the xbox. If buying from scratch stadia would be cheaper.

There are many simple solutions for that which cost less than the founder's edition.

And, if I'm a little bit snarky, you can't exactly play those old games on Stadia either.


Hey me too (albeit 100mbit) and I've gotten my Stadia and been playing tomb raider with it and it works great so I wouldn't worry about it.


I bought a 2TB SSD for my XBox One and I never looked back.


Microsoft thinks there is an audience here too, given Project xCloud.

Maybe there isn't enough high speed internet deployed in the world, but there certainly are a lot of devices capable of streaming given how many people already have an Android or iOS device on them at all times. Both of which support Bluetooth and most modern game controllers. Some of which have better screens than most people have at home. Some of which have better specs than, as just one interesting example, Nintendo's Switch.


I'm not sure if this is a big enough market, but system exclusive games would be a reasonable cause.

For example, a gamer playing on PC and/or XBox might want to play Horizon Zero Dawn for some time, but not buy a PS4 just for one game. Or some Nintendo exclusive game.

Most people don't have all gaming consoles available, and exclusives are (IMHO sadly) a thing, and this might be a reasonable workaround to provide compatibility.


How would a Sony or Nintendo exclusive be on Stadia?


part of the problem with that market is that there are very few true console exclusives left and that trend seems to only be going one way. sony made sure to have their mark all over death stranding and it's still gonna be on pc in a few months.

It's not entirely about cost. I don't want a gaming console or a gaming PC because they take up space and require maintenance. But I'd still like to play modern AAA games occasionally. If I can do that from my MacBook, I'm interested.


Well, as a desktop Mac user, I'd be very interested.

Of course its not available for Mac (yet).


Yes it is, you just need a Chrome browser!

Get a PS, take the dual shock with you, sync it with your iPad and enjoy streaming games from back home, using the free app.


PC's don't generally need a subscription service to access games or multiplayer, but your upfront hardware costs to play modern AAA games are huge.

And existing consoles require you to:

* pay a large upfront fee for the hardware

* purchase games at full price

* buy a recurring subscription service for access to updates and essentials, like multiplayer.

Stadia doesn't seem unreasonable at all by comparison.


$400 amortized over a lifetime of 5 years (10, at the outside). ~$6 a month. You can also buy a console used for less than half the price at this point in the console lifecycle.

The game purchase story is identical.

The multiplayer subscription is approximately another ~$4 a month, and includes an average of two new, free, games per month. It's also not required outside of multiplayer.

So, the deal is virtually identical to (or better than) Stadia, but with much more stability in poor internet zones, and the chances of Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo turning off their entire ecosystem are much lower than Google's (they have a positive track record spanning decades on this topic).


So cost of ownership over time is similar and competitive for the non-free Stadia. But I'm not sure I really care about that, or that most people think of money that way. Its just easier to part with a few bucks every month for most people, than it is to part with $400 at one time.

You can look at the cost another way: Buying a console is like buying a 5-year pre-paid plan for a subscription service. That puts it in clearer terms, to me.

Anyhow, once Stadia's free version is released, unless its drastically limited in someway, it will be cheaper than everything. Honestly, I don't know why they didn't advertise as a primarily free service. People think of it as a paid service first, that has a crappy free tier, rather than a free service that has a value-add pro tier.


The biggest problem I see with this right now is that Stadia appears to be sub-console quality and really nowhere close to PC gaming. The Pro service that is supposed to be 4K@60 is not at all 4K.

I do agree that if it reaches the point where Stadia allows you to effectively rent a $3k - $4k high end gaming PC for just $10/month, it will become an interesting proposition.


> it costs money, the service costs a monthly fee, and on top of it you have to buy the games

While this is true now, you'll later be able to play games by only paying a monthly fee or only buying the game for the normal <=$60 price. The subscription isn't necessary to play games at all.

The problem you have with the service potentially going away also applies to Steam, to a lesser degree. I acknowledge that they have a proven track record now and also require much less to continue serving games though.


If Steam says "We're shutting down" , I would be able to download the games to my computer and manage my own backups. If Stadia shuts down, the games I've bought will vanish. In that case, I hope Google would make a deal with a company like Steam to transfer already purchased games. Actually, If I buy a game, I'd like to be able to download it just in case if I wanna play with low settings on my laptop while I'm on holiday with crappy internet connection. PS Now gives you option to download and/or stream PS4 games.


This could be solved in theory by a streaming service that didn't try to lock you in. Alas, almost every streaming service of every kind does want to lock you in, and often the licensing agreements necessary to offer competitive pricing require it.

But having a pricier option where you can save your content offline would be a way to satisfy both audiences.

Although in this case, I personally think a pure subscription model should replace the fee + pay-per-game model as the basic streaming option.


Stadia does not have a monthly required. It has a monthly fee only for the highest quality streaming tier (4k@60). If you stop paying that fee, you will keep games you purchased (with the exception of those given away for free with the subscription).

There is certainly room to be concerned with what happens to purchases if Google eventually pulls the plug on the whole service.


7 years later, Glass is still a successful product for its users.


Yes, all 7 of them are very happy with it.

Honestly, glass simply seems too early. We know that Apple is also working on AR glasses, even Intel came out with a AR glasses platform but quickly had to kill it because the market is simply not mature.

I think Google is betting that cloud steaming is now viable and are going to put as much resources as possible to make it work.

I am not doubting that there are issues with the product and concerns about Google, I obviously have reservations but don't believe that it hinders me from being excited about the prospect itself


I feel like "X was too early/ahead of its time" is kind of a red herring.

What it's basically saying is "this failed until it succeeded", because the alternative option, that of being able to accurately predict the exact point the technology is 'good enough', has proven effectively impossible to do (given how so many companies that manage it occasionally also fail at it most of the time; it's a crapshoot).

To that end, given Stadia is here, does anyone think the tech is ready? No. In fact, people seem to think the opposite, that Stadia is Google's attempt to get the tech to a specific point, or to offset the cost of the tech serving another use case.

The only way Stadia has a shot is if Google stays viewing it as a way to profit from having unused GPUs sitting around within its cloud offerings.


It’s not the market that wasn’t mature, it’s the technology/product —- although the latter is what you need to grow a market.

I love new technology and gadgets. I bought an Oculus DK2 and Vive and they were both mind blowing when I first tried them, although I don’t still use them. Trying Google Glass, on the other hand, was beyond underwhelming. Holo Lens and Magic Leap, while slightly better, were also extremely underwhelming. Other than niche industrial applications, these products are far far too early for any consumer product.


> Stadia is different, with this product Google is trying something really innovative.

Genuine question: What is innovative here? There are at least a dozen attempts at 'cloud gaming' that I'm aware of dating back about a decade.


Now you can play games at lower quality and higher latency than ever before, and pay Google for the privilege of renting them! Plus, Google can control what games you play! Innovation!


AFAIK, there is a big difference in the backend. Something like the Playstation 'cloud gaming' gave you remote access to a playstation console. Others gave you access to a VM running the game. I think Microsoft was talking about giving you access to your own XBox running at home?

The games were not re-engineered / ported specifically to run 'in the cloud' as Stadia is attempting. There are some interesting things that could allow, if a developer ever decides to utilize it.


My mental model is that Stadia is just like owning a PS/Xbox, but the hardware is in Google's datacentres.

You pay the one-off cost to buy the console, you then maybe pay for the Pro subscription, but you have to buy your games and those games are locked to that platform - just like with PS/Xbox.

All the other stuff about having games that deliver something unseen before because of "the cloud" are mostly promises and theoretical features at this stage, so I wouldn't bank too much on that.


I think I can help answer your question, but just watching the keynote will be best. https://youtu.be/hl-Y1QVhmcM. The tl;dr of the whole keynote is what's different about Google's attempt at 'Cloud Gaming' is their ability to leverage their infrastructure. Outside of Amazon and Microsoft I don't know of another company that will be able to match the latency and computation requirements to make this all work as marketed. What really stood out to me from their keynote this year was the number of edge nodes that Google has on top of their datacenter infrastructure. https://youtu.be/hl-Y1QVhmcM?t=1360


> What is different with Google's attempt at 'Cloud Gaming' is their ability to leverage their infrastructure.

That's not innovation, it's just having a bigger stick than the other guy.


Yes,we know, nothing remotely similar to anything else is innovation. Airplanes are just bicycles with bolted on wings.


Okay, but that's hardly what most would consider innovative. Applying their large scale is more of an evolution of or improvement to the established cloud gaming idea.


That's what the word "innovation" means.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innovation


All that compute and network power and yet GeForceNow performs better for me than Stadia.

I'm just one datapoint, I know, but that's also just a keynote.


Google Suggest is low latency, and required a huge effort, driven from the top.

Cloud gaming needs even lower latency. I don't think it's possible, but if google is doing the serious datacenter work, it must be a testbed for something else, because gaming isn't worth it anyway.


"gaming isn't worth it anyway"

> By 2018, the United States video game industry had matched that of the Unites States film industry on basis of revenue, with both industries having made around US$43 billion that year.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_industry


Google's revenue in 2018 was $137B... but you're right, a slice of $43B may be worth it to them.


> Google is trying something really innovative

This kind of thing has been around for nearly 10 years.


Yup. OnLive tried it with similar results. There are many markets where 10ms - 20ms latency doesn't matter that much, but realtime gaming isn't one of them. It's extremely disorienting to play a game with even the slightest framebuffer lag.


After playing it for about 5-8 hours in the last 2 days, I'd say for a casual gamer like me, there is no perceptible latency. Even in an FPS like Destiny. But again, yesterday was the first time I played a AAA game after two years so maybe I'm just a bit rusty.


You don't know what you're missing until you have tried lower latency.

My regular gaming setup is a 144 Hz monitor with a PC. Everytime I try gaming on a console with a 60 Hz TV I feel like I'm completely drunk because of the noticeable input lag. And that's not even cloud gaming. That's just the Console + TV input lag...


I think Stadia could be super cool for simulation games like Cities: Skylines. The lag isn't nearly as much of a problem and the ability to have an extremely powerful computer simulate many more "agents" would be fantastic.


Surprisingly, OnLive found lag was an even greater problem for applications with a cursor than for games.

Plus your suggestion can be implemented with cloud compute (a backend behind the UI) - it doesn't need to be cloud streaming.


No problem. Just reinvent X11 and let the display server render the cursor.


Your phrasing is dismissive but yes having a game not render its own cursor is pretty common and works quite well.


I think the experience will vary quite significantly, the surface is quite large. For Stadia launch, I created a crowdsourcing reports site and am hoping that we can get a better understanding through others' experiences.

https://www.cloudgamingdb.com/


Really? I played Witcher 3 with ping (to Paperspace machine) of about 40ms, the latency wasn't noticeable at all.


Where? Who else is doing this type of cloud gaming?


Onlive (deceased).

Microsoft (xCloud). Free until it’s stable.

Nvidia (GeForce NOW). Free until it’s stable.

Sony (PlayStation Now).

.. Seriously dude where’ve you been?


And you can add others like Shadow, or you could roll your own using Parsec or Moonlight + a cloud provider like Paperspace or AWS (or even Google cloud).

What is important in case of Shadow, GeForce Now and roll you own, that you buy a PC game that you can access on any PC, not just using a single service (like Stadia, or xCloud).


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OnLive

>The OnLive Game Service was launched in the United States on June 17, 2010. The service was launched in the United Kingdom on September 22, 2011.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_Now

"PlayStation Now (PS Now) is a cloud gaming subscription service developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment."


My concern for Stadia revolves around Microsoft's upcoming offering.

Apparently, Microsoft is simply going to rack-mount XBox hardware and stream it that way, which means the entire XBox library is instantly compatible.

For Stadia, games have to be modified specifically for it and their Linux configuration, which limits what games are announced for the platform, and requires engineering effort.


If that MS approach works, why hasn't Netflix or Gog or someone already done it for any games?


Netflix has been trying to introduce interactive content to their platform for years. The latest attempt is Minecraft: Story Mode [0]. Netflix's architecture is designed around streaming static video files, on platforms without great latency guarantees. There can be gaps of up to a second when loading the next video file. Interactive UI and choicepoints are quite limited.

Streaming live and streaming offline media require very different infrastructure.

[0] https://www.netflix.com/title/80227995


There was also that choose-your-own-adventure Black Mirror thing.

They don't have the game dev experience or the library. Seems obvious. They can stream the games for the same reason Netflix can't buy a single DVD and stream that movie to everyone on the planet.


>Stadia is different, with this product Google is trying something really innovative.

Google is not the one being innovative here. This has been done before, to no real success. Google was first to the finish line (kinda, seems more like a beta in implementation), but other offerings are coming down the pipe shortly.

I don't see Google winning this one. MS is in a much better position here, and NVidia also has one in the works.

I would short Google on this in an instant if someone would take my money.


I would argue that there are a couple of innovations here that haven't been tried (to my knowledge) by the previous attempts. One is the wifi directly connected controller (so it bypasses the display device for lowering input latency), the other is, supposedly, advance algorithms to estimate inputs to reduce lag. The latter, of course, is something that FPS servers have been doing for a while but I don't believe this has been tried before in terms of cloud game streaming.


> I would short Google on this in an instant if someone would take my money.

I'm sure there are many people who would be happy to take your money to bet against Google.


Ok, well let me know. Google fails far more often than they succeed, and they're out of their depth with this one.


I'm not a Google advocate. But Google (well Alphabet) is a public stock - there are many ways to short it.


Cool. Can I short stadia specifically? I'm pretty sure you understood what I was saying.


I honestly thought you meant what you said - that you wanted to short Google.


Fair enough. That's why I threw the "on this" bit in.


Remember, for years, Xbox One has allowed for local streaming from Xbox One consoles to Windows 10 PCs via the Xbox app over LAN, which gives Microsoft's Project xCloud the benefits of: * significant experience with the fundamental technology, * no new special hardware required (they can tweak existing Xbox One hardware), * a much larger library of games currently available for download (for consumers who want to switch to a local console), and * an existing Netflix-of-games program via Game Pass (for consumers interested in pure subscriptions)

As-is, Google just happens to be first-to-market in the current generation of on-demand game streaming options. But we've seen this technology before, and I could get the same results with a high quality VPN set-up to connect to a Xbox at home.


> I could get the same results with a high quality VPN set-up to connect to a Xbox at home. Has anyone actually done that, or are you speculating?


> Has anyone actually done that, or are you speculating?

There are videos on YouTube of people using Xbox game streaming, but it requires setting up a VPN at home which presumably few people do.

Edit: with the Stadia launch, I'm currently working on setting up a Raspberry PI as a VPN server to try this myself.


On the original rumors about Stadia I did think Google was going to revolutionize the industry, particularly in social/massively-multiple games. Starting with the development stack that would leverage a coherent, synchronized world that is massively malleable -- huge banks of systems connected in the microsecond latency range with virtually unlimited throughput, massive neural engines, etc. Destructables, enormous player counts, a completely dynamic environment, virtually eliminating cheating, etc -- it would change everything.

But then they come out with some hosted older games. Eh. Maybe the big reveal will come out eventually, but this far it's pretty disappointing.


So what? Products improve. This one will too. Imagine seeing an ad on Youtube and immediately being able to play the game on your chromebook. I don't know that's what is going to happen and it can't work today, but maybe in a few years.


That's such a slippery argument. You can always underdeliver as long as you promise that 'products improve. This one will too'.

How about I don't pay the monthly subscription/for the controller and tell Google that "payments improve. Mine will too"?

I'm obviously salty because I preordered Stadia (against my better judgement) and it's terrible.


What’s terrible about it?


Latency is pretty bad (GFN by comparison works fine for me). Samurai Shodown, a brawler game, is mostly unplayable.

The overall quality is very beta (black screen in Stadia unless you disable hardware acceleration, which I have to do every time, Stadia can't easily handle multiple Google accounts, I have to change accounts every single time).

Probably worst thing is very Google-like support. Super long queues for "Customer Care", phonelines are closed at 10:30 AM because they're "Out of hours".


https://www.nvidia.com/en-gb/geforce/products/geforce-now/

Has been a product for a long time and actually works really well.


Moving every last thing people do with computers into the cloud so their activities can be thoroughly data mined is innovative?


its initial purchase price is only slightly less than a full console, the games cost more, the visual quality is worse, it is way way more subject to packet loss, the input lag is orders of magnitude worse and it (along with my purchases) have a high probability of disappearing in 3 years time

where do I sign up?


You forgot that stadia also lacks nearly all of the nice-to-gave features already provided on consoles. You don't even get a notification when you unlock a trophy.


It's not just all of the products they've dropped in the past, it's also the cumulative day-to-day experience I've had with them overall. When their stuff works, it's great, but if anything goes wrong, one faces the impervious silent wall of Google's tech support, or rather complete lack thereof. The idea of trusting their compute cloud for a business service that truly has to be reliable seems insane.

They make great free toys that mostly work and make a lot of money doing so. I'm glad to use those toys for free, but I'm under no allusions that what often works will always work. That's not their forte.


*illusions. (good grief)

Could you explain to me what is innovative about Google offering you fields to enter your social details on your Stadia profile for AIM, MSN, YIM, etc... And could you explain why they won't put fields for Google Talk, Google Wave, Buzz, Huddle, Google+ Messenger, Google Hangouts, Messenger, Google Allo, Google Duo or Google Spaces?

Google can only succeed with their own low-latency internet --- Fiber, Loon etc.

BTW Twitch is a different kind of game streaming.


With the huge, hideous and costly mistakes Google has been making with Fiber, and Loon being still nothing more than a pie-in-the-sky fantasy?


Good point, also remember they have their own internet cable ruin through the globe.


The question is not how innovative or useful Stadia is but how reliable Google is. If all Google produced was boring useless garbage, no one would care that they shut it down.

I'm pretty happy with the PlayStation Now experience for games that don't require fast response times; I would say it is "viable".

You do realize that streaming games is an old idea and has been tried many times and Google's competitors do or will have similar services. Google isn't doing anything new here. They don't have any first-move advantage. The only advantage they have is infrastructure and scale. Whether that is enough, we shall see.


I do understand that this is an old idea. My TV actually has a steaming service for games built in but I have never used it because I doubt the performance would be up to standard.

The innovation is not necessarily in the product but in the engineering required to make the product feasible. There is a long history of tech that simply is too early for the current environment. Google is betting the cloud gaming has reached a point of viability and it's very exciting to see them tackle the challenge.

Obviously there are concerns with the products. Specifically paying for games, the games itself, etc. But generally I'm excited for this effort.


>The innovation is not necessarily in the product but in the engineering required to make the product feasible.

Yet their launch has been plauged by issues and latency is still a massive problem. They didn't crack the nut, so again, what's innovative here?


There is ZERO innovation here. This is simply google trying to lock more people in to a service they will later try to pivot, which will then be canceled. I'm glad you are excited for this, and I hope to be proven wrong, but like all others I see a google service and wonder how long until EOL


> My TV actually has a steaming service

Nice Freudian slip there. We have a "smart" TV here that's never been connected to the Internet. They seem to just universally suck.

For extra credit, our TV is a Roku TV, and from the CEOs comments, I doubt I'll ever connect it to the Internet. At least until they start coming with 4G connectivity built-in...(!)


Except if you stepped out of the hn bubble you'll know MS has had something similar in works for a long time so no, Google can't win here


Google’s different brands remind me of MSFT of the early 2000s. No rhyme or reason. More chaos and throwing spaghetti at the wall. No issues changing or deprecating APIs and products like this on a whim.

They certainly dont inspire trust in anything but their flagship brands like Gmail that have been with us for decades.


From what I hear, this is due to the promo driven culture at Google. You can good reviews/promos based on new products that get pushed to market, nobody cares about maintenance at Google.


I heard that Facebook and Google collect engineers and let them do whatever because its better than them being productive at a competitor.


One of the most senior engineers here (someone with his name on many research and whitepapers from his tenures at Amazon, Microsoft et al), left Google for precisely this reason. He was bored of working on stuff that would never reach the light of day. It happened multiple times to him in his time there.


any pointers of who you might be referring to?


Textbook anti competitive behavior. Google needs to be broken up.


Yeah, let´s break Google into a bunch of smaller companies, all managed by Alphabet.


When people say this, what exactly does this mean? If you break Google up into Gmail, Search, Calendar, etc... what stops those from within, who have intimate knowledge of the innerworkings and HR related matters within Alphabet as a whole, from simply secretly colluding and sharing resources off the books?


I’ve asked this question an bunch of times and never got a serious reply. There’s no strong anti-trust angle or end game to these things, it’s purely vindictive because it’s trendy to hate on SV.

Sometimes companies are shitty but it doesn’t justify such a strong hammer. If anything their search products or mobile products would themselves need to be broken up, (or FBs network and Instagram) not the whole company... but even then it’s not like they will go away.


So I don't necessarily support it, and I agree a lot of technical people just hate SV and have no idea what it'd mean, but as a developer I can see some benefits.

Here's an example from Apple:

Only Apple Maps can show you maps on a locked screen.

Until iOS 13 Siri tightly integrated with Apple Music ways no other app could.

Apple Pay is the only payment method that can work with a locked phone.

Only Apple's app store can install apps.

Only Apple's messaging apps can create new contacts.

All built-in apps only call other Apple apps for supporting functionality, for example Reminders will only open Apple Maps, Siri smart suggestions for ETA only work with Apple Maps as well.

All Apple apps get an immense head start of integrating with new APIs and OS features.

-

So if you create a competitor to one of those Apple apps, from day 1 you're at a disadvantage.

If they were broken up, all competitors would be on a much more even playing field with Apple's apps.

And Apple is just an easy example, Android is much more open than iOS, but Google Play Services is still a guillotine over anyone who dares to go against Google's wishes.

Imagine if Google services were separate companies so a claimed misdeed on one couldn't end what is the core of billions of people's online existence...


> it’s trendy to hate on SV.

Perhaps, but the vast majority of the hate lands on those companies that are actively screwing over their users, so... I'm happy with vindictive against a billion dollar monolith that I have no hope of ever controlling.


The idea is that breaking up a company will reduce both their resources available to behave badly (cash, infrastructure, people etc.) as well as getting the people in the newly independent organizations to start thinking competitively with each other as well as other companies in the market. If done right, the newly formed entities wouldn't be viewed as the 'same old people under a new name' but rather an entity no longer working toward the same goals if not an outright competitor. (that's in a perfect world... it rarely is perfect) What would keep them from colluding would typically be government/regulatory oversight for some period of time after the breakup with civil and/or criminal penalties being the stick for doing what you describe.


You mean other than the laws that were used to break them up?

Generally, just because someone may find a way around a law is not a justified reason for not having the law.


Simply, that's an extremely difficult criminal enterprise to pull of especially on an ongoing basis and for what gains? I would only see to do so for spite and active defiance of the law. Is that worth hefty fines, investigations, possible charges and jail time?

A break up usually means many of these people are laid off or move on. Every separate company would have its own books that would either need to be public if they remain public entities or have audited financials that match expenses to revenue and investments. Not an easy thing to hide QTR over QTR. Furthermore, depending on how the companies are broken up, they will be acquired by other companies or PE rather than be stand-alone enterprises. Lastly, whistleblowers.

TL;DR It's not worth it for spite and any significant gains or advantages that are imagined, are probably significant enough to be noticed by the government or some enterprising analyst.


Doesn't seem like they do "whatever", but rather "whatever they're told" - otherwise they'd be free to maintain passion projects (like our beloved Reader.)


I got my first promotion in Google for preventing a half-forgotten system from imploding.


That's actually a bad sign, as it shows how notable it is at Google when something like this is prevented... ️

Preventing Products from failing should be SOP.


It's bad that there are half forgotten systems but almost every sizable business that has been around for many years will have this. On mobile, but there's a famous story of a server that had been drywalled over and had been running just fine, unnoticed and unattended, for years.

It's good to see that maintenance is rewarded at Google at least occasionally. I only ever hear that it is only new products that are rewarded. And I notice new people piling on to issues in their product trackers that I've been following for years.


> On mobile, but there's a famous story of a server that had been drywalled over and had been running just fine, unnoticed and unattended, for years.

This one?

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/04/12/missing_novell_serv...


But consider incentives. If nobody gets promoted for doing it, nobody does it. Promotion for maintenance isn't a bad sign if your corporate culture is "hire the smartest people in the room and let them build great products;" you're going to have to incentivize maintenance somehow, and "maintain it or you're fired" is counter to your cultural goals.


Promoting people who notice impending implosions should also be SOP.


Leading to a black market in manufactured implosion-causing problems!


It’s not at all a bad sign. Any large and complex system will have parts rot from lack of maintenance, and giving awards to people who identify and correct this ahead of disasters is a good thing.


So... people shouldn't be promoted for keeping existing services running, but they should keep those services running as SOP? Sounds like a recipe for misaligned incentives to me.


Nobody cares about maintenance at most places.


> They certainly dont inspire trust in anything but their flagship brands like Gmail that have been with us for decades.

Even Gmail is a giant blob of garbage.


> Even Gmail is a giant blob of garbage.

Sadly from a UX point of view I can't disagree. Google inbox (and other products) showed how the UX for mail clients can be tremendously improved. But they shut it down and only migrated some of the more irrelevant features. IMHO the UX of gmail is so bad that I wonder if they want to phase out email altogether.

This doesn't even include some of the thing inbox (and maybe gmail, idk) supported wrt. metadata and live updates and now is discontinued "because it's no longer needed with dynamic amp pages". Just that amp kinda misses the whole point of email :( .

I really want to write my own client. But I know it's way to much work to get to the point where it's nice _and_ that is pointless if the people sending mails will stop including thinks like json-ld sections in mail. Really sad, as that had a lot more potential then the amp * they want to ship now.


There is a hamburger icon (top-left), 9-dot icon (top-right), gear icon (top-right) and 3-dot icon (top-left). What do they all do? (I actually know).


Google Play music is like this in Android Auto:

https://twitter.com/JasonCWalton/status/1065631146090868736

They've replaced the hamburger menu in the upper left with a "back arrow", which does the same thing as the hamburger menu did, while making even less sense.


Don't forget the menu with a picture of your face on it (probably).


And that's before you open up the compose field. To this day I click the wrong button every time when I want to forward an email. Every time. Despite knowing I do it every time, I still click the wrong one.


Huh, I imagine that internally nobody notices this type of problem because they all use keyboard shortcuts and hit 'f' to forward.


What?


Eh, I agree with him. I've been with gmail since middle school (going on... a LOT of years now, back when it was invite only).

Somewhere in the last 10 years or so it feels like the gmail team switched from "Make a good email client" to "Shove all the enterprisey things into gmail!".

It's gotten SO slow to load and is incredibly bloated.

I was a happy inbox user until... drumroll... they shut that down too.

I still use Gmail because old habits die hard, but I won't ever suggest a google tool at work. Fool me once, shame on you...


Actually for work Gmail has gotten (and is getting) better. My workplace switched from Outlook to Gmail recently and I felt like it was a net improvement.

Google has a vested interest in reading your email. Google lets users think that setting up a mail server is difficult, that email is a dead end communication medium compared to walled gardens, and that phishing is difficult to combat effectively.


FWIW though, setting up a mail server is difficult. Setting up a mail client with reasonable spam filtering to make email usable is also difficult. Compare the list of steps on either of those tasks to the list for getting email via Gmail: "1) Sign up to a Google account, 2) visit gmail.com"; it's obvious almost all users are going to do the latter (or its equivalent at a Google competitor).


Setting up a mail server isn't difficult. It's about as easy as installing and configuring a web server, and just about as technical.

Email has been around for decades. The fact that Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and many paid services have had one-click email addresses for twenty-plus years should demonstrate that it's not difficult. Businesses just don't want to make it easy for lay people to do it.


Unless email servers have gotten a lot more turnkey in the last few years, I'm gonna disagree with this, sorry. :) I can get nginx running on most systems with literally a couple commands ("package-manager-thing install nginx" and "service-manager-thing start nginx"). Getting a mail server running -- at least in any form that qualifies as "Gmail replacement" -- seems to involve "install postfix, immediately edit the configuration because it has no out-of-the-box defaults, create multiple configuration files beyond that because that's how postfix rolls, install dovecot, immediately edit its configuration because it has no out-of-the-box defaults either, create some directories and user accounts and more configuration files because that's how dovecot rolls, then test that everything's working." And I'm leaving out the "install MySQL" part that many guides you'll find online will also have you do. Also, I haven't talked about running a spam filter and YOUR HARD DRIVE IS ALREADY FULL OF NIGERIAN PRINCES TRYING TO SELL YOU PENIS-ENLARGING BITCOIN I'M SO SORRY.

I would love it if "package-manager-thing install mail-server-thing" and "service-manager-thing start mail-server-thing" could get things going with sensible defaults like they do with nginx, even if you'd probably need to tweak things after they were going just like you're almost certainly going to do with a web server. But AFAIK, that just ain't the case.



While I don't have to set up a mail server any time soon, I am absolutely bookmarking this. :)

I've run a mail server, and still help out with one, and getting consistent deliverability is hard. We've wanted to move to another hosting service for years, but the only reason we're doing ok right now is that our dedicated IP has a solid history and we just can't give that up in a migration.


The services you mention all have entire large teams devoted to tackling spam, reputation, uptime, etc. That it's easy and cheap on a marginal basis for them to add one more inbox to their millions doesn't mean the overall infrastructure is easy to keep running.


> The services you mention all have entire large teams devoted to tackling spam, reputation, uptime, etc.

Can you provide specific numbers to the count of people devoted to tackling spam, reputation, uptime, etc? I suspect the number's a lot smaller than you think. I also suspect the peoples' duties are less devoted than you think.

If Google, for example, truly worked to tackle spam then it wouldn't have a spam problem today. If Yahoo truly worked to tackle reputation, people wouldn't have trouble sending email using an email client instead of a browser.

I'll grant you that uptime does have dedicated people. But it's not to tackle spam or reputation. It's because offline services don't make a profit.


I work with these teams at Google.

There are teams that actively (and solely) work on spam and abuse detection. They're larger than you seem to believe, though I won't give exact numbers. There's also obviously sre teams that maintain uptime. (Note I said teams, and there's a public approximate minimum size for an are team at Google of 8-12 people)

The problem is that spam can't be "solved". Reputation is easy to solve: only accept email from a known list of good senders. Gmail, Yahoo, MailChimp (or not), etc. But that makes people on HN complain. So your have to try and infer reputation of mailservers on shared hosts. And spammers are always trying to beat you, and there are thousands, maybe tens of thousands of spam outfits. Af they're sneaky. They try to use awa or gcp to send email, or even send spam from Gmail, prevent trickier things. So you're left to defend from a spam campaign from Yahoo while also trying to not block everyone at Yahoo, and detect the spammers who are using Gmail to spam Yahoo too.

And the spammers are always innovating, so you have to as well.

My personal belief is that Google likely considers spam detection to be an area of competitive advantage so investments are warranted.


> The problem is that spam can't be "solved". Reputation is easy to solve: only accept email from a known list of good senders. Gmail, Yahoo, MailChimp (or not), etc. But that makes people on HN complain. So your have to try and infer reputation of mailservers on shared hosts. And spammers are always trying to beat you, and there are thousands, maybe tens of thousands of spam outfits. Af they're sneaky. They try to use awa or gcp to send email, or even send spam from Gmail, prevent trickier things. So you're left to defend from a spam campaign from Yahoo while also trying to not block everyone at Yahoo, and detect the spammers who are using Gmail to spam Yahoo too.

Spam absolutely can be solved.

1) enforce identity. If the sender isn't authentic, then the sender is spam.

2) enforce reportability. If the user reports the sender as spam, then don't permit the sender to send more messages to the person who complained. if a lot of people report the problem, then block the sender.

3) enforce liability. if an ISP hosts spammers, then block the ISP.

If someone complains then walk them through the process. Just like people shouldn't drive vehicles without understanding that vehicles are dangerous, the same should be done with computers.


The world is so much more complicated than this.

Everything Joshua Morton said but also:

What is identity? A name? An SSN? How do you verify that for people in all the countries of the world?

How do you do that at scale? With hundreds of millions of users, you can't exactly call them up.

How many users are you going to have after you start adding measures to verify their identities at signup? How will the board of directors feel about that? And feel free to run your own company into the ground doing the right thing, but there are other email providers in the world who will happily accept the users you drive away.

What happens when people have their accounts taken over and start spamming? Were the accounts ever "real"? How can you even know?

What happens when the reports themselves are spam? Spammers will report other spammers to remove the competition. Or they'll just overwhelm it with useless fake reports to DOS your human reviewers.

You have to realize that every input to your system is a potential avenue for abuse. There are people sitting there all day thinking about how to prevent you from achieving your goals. Humanity went to the moon, we're problem solvers. If there's a way to manipulate and undermine your spam defenses it will be found.


> If the sender isn't authentic, then the sender is spam.

What's your definition of authentic? Is a self-hosted email server authentic? How do you decide?

> If the user reports the sender as spam, then don't permit the sender to send more messages to the person who complained.

If 10000 yahoo accounts are sending spam emails to other websites, what do you do? Block all yahoo senders? Try to block the yahoo accounts as they appear?

> 3) enforce liability. if an ISP hosts spammers, then block the ISP.

All major ISPs host spammers. Often they don't know that they do. Is it worth cutting off all comcast users nationwide from being able to use email? If anything, this would further centralize on one or two trustworthy email hosts, because those providers are essentially their own ISPs.


> What's your definition of authentic? Is a self-hosted email server authentic? How do you decide?

Authentic in terms of DNS. That means using and enforcing DKIM at the minimum.

Also in terms of from: and reply-to: addresses matching each other.

> If 10000 yahoo accounts are sending spam emails to other websites, what do you do? Block all yahoo senders? Try to block the yahoo accounts as they appear?

If 10000 yahoo accounts are sending spam emails, then that's a Yahoo problem. Yes, I would refuse to accept incoming mail from @yahoo.com until they've fixed their complicity.

> All major ISPs host spammers. Often they don't know that they do.

I disagree about not knowing that they do. ISPs must respond to fraud and abuse reports or they would lose the ability to do business. ISPs not responding to spam reports are offloading the cost of policing their users onto you.


> Authentic in terms of DNS. That means using and enforcing DKIM at the minimum.

Sure, these are basic things that are generally used as strong signals, but all this does is filter out the incompetent spammers. If you're sending from yahoo or from gmail, you've already solved the reputation problem. And there are other ways of doing the same.

> If 10000 yahoo accounts are sending spam emails, then that's a Yahoo problem. Yes, I would refuse to accept incoming mail from @yahoo.com until they've fixed their complicity.

I'd expect that this is approximately the baseline number of yahoo accounts sending spam when they aren't being actively targeted. Its less than 1% of 1% of the active monthly accounts on yahoo. So you'd like to just block yahoo constantly?

> I disagree about not knowing that they do.

Sure they know, in the sense that I also know that there are always people spamming from every major ISP. That doesn't mean that they can immediately address things. And while you're busy blocking all comcast users from sending your users email, your users are busy moving to a different email provider that identifies individual spam senders so that they can still receive legitimate email.

In closing, a simple question: if solving spam is this straightforward, why hasn't an upstart competitor (yahoo, protonmail, etc.) taken advantage of this strategy to fix the spam problem? It appears you're presuming a centralized system, which defeats the point of email and significantly simplifies the problem.


Internet systems are one part technology and one part social.

If my mail server is banning mail from Yahoo, I can't communicate with my grandparents and I stop using that mail server. Enough people do that and the mail server has no users.

inetknght, I get the sense that you run a mail server of your own. Have you taken your own advice here and blocked @yahoo.com incoming? Is it inconvenient? Is it more inconvenient than the two-step process of setting up a Gmail account?


> If my mail server is banning mail from Yahoo, I can't communicate with my grandparents and I stop using that mail server. Enough people do that and the mail server has no users.

Why are your grandparents using Yahoo instead of your mail server?

> Have you taken your own advice here and blocked @yahoo.com incoming? Is it inconvenient? Is it more inconvenient than the two-step process of setting up a Gmail account?

I haven't had any correspondence from anyone who uses @yahoo.com. Or, if I have, they haven't complained about me not receiving their email. Or, if they have, their complaint was also not received in which case it doesn't exactly matter. If it did matter then I would address it then. And, importantly, it also means there's another (less noisy) communication medium available already.


> Why are your grandparents using Yahoo instead of your mail server?

Because internet systems are one part technology and one part social. My grandparents already have Yahoo accounts and are unwilling to change that.

And if your solution to interoperating with Yahoo servers is "I don't have anyone to talk to using Yahoo servers," then I'm afraid it sounds like you're trying to solve a problem other than the one email is designed to solve.


When your real-world proof is the safety of automobiles, you might want to rethink your position.


The simplest web server I'm aware of is `python http.server 8080`

... and even for that, I had to disable / re-enable the firewall and fish around in the docs just last night to get the dang thing to accept connections from a source other than localhost (PROTIP: when running on a pretty-out-of-the-box Windows 10 config, the default options bind listeners to IPv6, not IPv4). And I definitely wouldn't recommend that configuration for production; you'll open yourself up to a universe of pain.

But as an analogy for setting up an email server vs. just subscribing to Google or whoever, I accept it. ;)


Phishing is difficult to combat effectively. Part of the problem is technological in that we never adopted a way of verifying senders are who they claim to be, but a large part of it is that humans are really good at fooling other humans, at least enough of the time to cause trouble.

Ironically, it is the technical problem of verification that makes it difficult to run (not setup) a mailserver: no one wants to trust it.


I don't think verification of sender is the problem (see PGP), it's that email was built such that anyone can contact anyone without setup ahead of time. I can give my address to some guy I meet at a conference and he can email me later with no issues, we don't need to agree ahead of time that we know who each other are. If he uses PGP, I need to accept the first communication is him, which means anyone can send me anything claiming to be anyone. Unfortunately, as soon as you solve this part of the issue with technology, I think you've just reinvented social media.


He said "adopted". Not "invented". PGP is not main-stream and probably never will be.

Such technologies have to be done behind the scenes and presented seamlessly, or they will probably never take off.


I wasn't trying to discuss whether or not PGP is a good or widely used technology. My point was that even if something like it were widely adopted and made seamless, it would not be able to solve the problem of bootstrapping the verification connections without eventually become social media itself.


> Part of the problem is technological in that we never adopted a way of verifying senders are who they claim to be, but a large part of it is that humans are really good at fooling other humans, at least enough of the time to cause trouble.

Tell me more about how DKIM and SPF and TLS with client certificates don't verify senders.


I didn't say they didn't, I said we haven't adopted a way of verifying senders. If DKIM, SPF, and TLS were universal, it would be a solved issue, but they aren't for a whole lot of reasons.

P.S.: However, come to think of it, they don't. You can receive a perfectly legit and verified email from scammer@consrus.ru with the name displayed as "Mr. Your CEO".


> Google lets users think that [...] phishing is difficult to combat effectively.

It sure is when they don't even bother to show the From address, there's no way to make links unclickable as an email administrator.

At this point, between Microsoft and Google ruining it in different ways, email has very little hope as a medium.


Gmail cannot even do threading, and it makes threads burst into flame when a threaded mailreader tries to interact with people using gmail.


Stadia .net 2003.


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