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Sorry Google; you can Keep it to yourself (gigaom.com)
399 points by iProject on Mar 21, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 228 comments



My favorite comment from the post:

"And by the way – how is this app strategic for you guys and Reader is not? A little clarity would certainly be appreciated."

I too would love to know what Google is thinking here.


Everyone assumes that this was a big strategic decision to scrap Reader and ditch RSS. But from what I've heard, it was more of a practical decision to drop an unmaintained project because no one knew how to update it for new backend infrastructure. But I'm sure that they misjudged the importance that people put into Reader. All in all, it seems like a wasted opportunity and a massive amount of lost good will.


That may be true as the reason, but I cannot believe they could misjudge the importance of Reader to its users - they have all the logs and know exactly what the usage is. They just decided they didn't care enough, and could accept the negative publicity.


Maybe they did look at the logs and decided that Reader usage was low enough (at Google scale) that they did not care.


At the very least, by looking at raw numbers, usage probably was pretty low. But the people that used it, used it a lot. I think that they just wanted to get rid of a project that they couldn't maintain anymore and sorely misjudged how vocal the users of it would be.


Keep and Reader are built for different groups of users. Reader was a niche product used by a small (but vocal) subset of all Google users. Keep is a product built for everyone.


It also turns out that Keep will provide them with a LOT more information about users that advertisers would pay through the nose to obtain.

Reader.. not so much.


Reader.. not so much.

How so? Show me someone's blog subscriptions, and then metrics on entries they clicked on, how long they viewed it, and the clicks that they followed, and I could quickly get a very accurate profile of the person.


Assuming people were to ONLY use this for todo lists, that would be infinitely more useful than what feeds and stories a person is interested in. They probably also get a lot of that information already with Google News and Google Analytics.

I suspect there will be a lot more than just todo lists, so the possibilities are really endless.


I'm building something on top of Hangouts, and I had an exchange that this reminded me of.

I was finally connected with a developer evangelist, and I sent an email saying something like "would love to know more about Google's strategic goals with Hangouts".

Her response was "I'm sure you're aware that Google doesn't discuss its strategies outside the company".

What a striking cultural difference from startups, where we're constantly discussing our strategies together.


Google doesn't want anyone to know what they're up to. Ironically, they want to know EVERYTHING about what YOU are up to.


Except apparently which blogs you're reading. But I guess they get that and more from Chrome now.


It ties into Google Now. It's already super convenient for me. Swipe up "Google, note to self, pick up milk". Now I have a TODO.

Combine that with what Google already knows (that I leave work at 5 and drive within half a mile of a grocery store), think about the intelligence they could bring to my Todo list.

(I know lots of people aren't going to like the privacy implications, my comment isn't meant to apologize or touch on that aspect)


Now already has an option to update you on a story that you read earlier. I don't see why Reader couldn't play into this.


How is Now strategic?


Google Now is killer.

The 'aha' moment for me was when I was visiting New York City: A few hours after my arrival, it told me that a favorite musician of mine was going to perform at a venue close to my location. I would have never known if I didn't have the service.

I'm guessing they knew I liked that artist because of my youtube history (my phone doesn't contain any music). That's cool with me. Oh and if they want to show me an ad for his latest album, instead of the latest One Direction single, I'm cool with that too.

Lots of cynicism/astroturfing towards Google. Maybe they were simply giving away their share of the pie to other, smaller businesses? It's not like there's a shortage of RSS readers out there; it's kind of a trivial thing to build.


The turnoff switch for Reader is an inflection point for Google towards Microsoftization; where they new product launches will be skeptically seen by hackers, and geeks.

I went to my phone, and did a Google spring cleanup yesterday, by deleting all the stuff I didn't use, and thought Google would see a future;

That is good for startups, they may attack Google product segments with ease, and we shall all PR for them and enjoy using them.


No, the de-standardizing of Google Calendar is Microsoftization.

1. Release something that's compatible with another popular thing. 2. Build up a huge following. 3. Remove the compatibility. 4. ??? 5. Profit!

It's the same thing that happened with NT and OS/2 compatibility. I'm not sure if Excel can still deal with Lotus files, but Excel got popular because of its Lotus compatibility.


And in fact, Google did this most specifically to Microsoft.

http://www.zdnet.com/google-drops-exchange-activesync-suppor...


Increases appeal of Android devices and provides another advertising opportunity ("find place to eat" -> bam! hyperlocal recommendation. Restaurants would pay significant amounts of money for that type of targeted advertising)


The parent observation is really on the money. Hyperlocal recommendations are very interesting, but _paid_ recommendations are a potential gold mine that I think people are only now starting to catch on to.

What I find particularly interesting about it is the potential to produce genuinely relevant advertising. As a simple example, imagine I ask my smartphone where I can find the nearest fast food joint and it tells me there is a McDonald's around the corner. It might also serve an ad that says there is a Burger King one block further away and if I go there and show the ad I will get free fries and a drink with my sandwich.

There are some very interesting possibilities here that we have only begun to scratch the surface of.


For things like that, such a service makes complete sense. But for things that I spend real money on, I've already developed a filter in my brain to weed out anything that looks like paid shilling. This is why I stopped using Google Shopping after it went paid-only, and why I skip the first page of Google Search when researching products.

Now if they could make this a social thing, where real, authenticated, non-paid people recommend a good place to eat or get my suit tailored, I would be on board. Sadly, there is no money in that sort of service, as Yelp found out pretty quickly.


I find that even for topics related to money the top hits on Google are all completely useless spam. I was looking for information about companies selling software components and just found a bunch of "sellyourappnow.com" offering Fruit Ninja clones for a few hundred bucks.

For whatever reason businesses that love their margins more than their customers find it's much more convenient to astroturf services like Yelp than to actually provide something worth buying.

And services like Yelp always seem to find that it's more lucrative to extort money from businesses in exchange for reorganizing their ratings.

I'd love to have a way for regular people to recommend things that was invulnerable to astroturfing but I have no idea what it would look like.


Stack Exchange gets pretty close, with its robust reputation/moderation system.


Google's corporate mission is to organize the world's information.

Taken from http://www.google.com/landing/now/

> Google Now gets you just the right information at just the right time.

Google Now extends the mission to include personal information. The plan is to eventually know what you want before you know you want it.

How could that be any more strategic?


One could argue Reader organized information as well.


Reader lets you organize information, not Google for you.


Better kill Calendar then. Can't have us mortals organizing our own schedules.

And Google Drive better get rid of folders. Just have a box you drop files on. If you need them back, hopefully you can figure out a search term to find them. But not using any search operators, those are too much like letting you organize.


Does one mission statement really cover the motivations of a company that has branched out into so many areas? Reader is a huge blow to that mission.


Isn't that why they're consolidating and trimming the business, to be more focused on that mission statement?

In itself, Reader could fit in (as the article by one of the original developers touched on). But for various reasons they never worked this out, or didn't put enough resources on it. So now they pull the plug. A stupid decision for many reasons, but not necessarily from a purely 'strategic' point of view.

One reason I can think of that they never invested deeply in Reader could be that the subset of people using it actively (geeks, information addicts) just wasn't interesting and broad enough to them.


Or perhaps there wasn't a large enough subset of that subset who work at Google. They don't have a use for it internally so there's no way they can dogfood it.


Google's corporate mission is to sell advertising.


Google's mission seems to have changed. Looks like their focus is now more towards organizing "Personal information" than "World Information".


The more Google [Now] knows about you, the better it can target you with ads.


The issue at hand is whether Google will later determine that the value gained from this new service is worth the cost. Google Reader allowed Google to collect a lot of incremental info on its users (what they were interested in reading) but wasn't worth the maintenance. Google likes to throw spaghetti on the wall and see if it sticks, despite how this strategy can negatively impact is users.


I always loved the strategy, and previously it didn't always bother me. When they cancelled Google/Gmail Labs, for example, I didn't like it, but I didn't care enough or rely on it enough to have a problem with it.

Perhaps they just had to learn the lesson that spaghetti that sticks is probably best left in place when it has a rabid fan-base.


I used it on vacation a lot the other week. Just say "Navigate me to x" or "Directions to y" or "Find the nearest z" and you get it right away in Google Maps/Navigation. Probably my favorite non-passive feature of it.

Then when staying at the hotel, it knows I'm staying there and tells me when I'm driving elsewhere how far away I am from it with traffic and how to go back via a notification.

Other times, if you call a place, like to order carryout, it knows you called it by the telephone number and then gives you a notification of how far away that place is and offers directions.


This kind of thing probably works well in major markets. Last time I used google naviation it took me to a vacant lot half a mile from where I wanted to go. Another time it took me on a convoluted route that included cutting through two private apartment parking lots for a destination that turned out to be literally around the corner and down the road from where I started. This is not uncommon in my part of the US (midwest). I don't use navigation anymore, I look at the maps and pick my own routes.


Just to follow up, I've only really used it in metropolitan areas/suburbs and on long trips where I knew the address ahead of time, so I can't comment on accuracy in rural areas or small towns. Guessing it's similar to your situation though if it's an area not as well traveled.


Google Now is the best thing Google have done yet with the vast swathes of information they collect. Right now, Google Now is the reason to use everything Google.


I'm not finding the exact quote right now, but Sergey always wanted Google to be able to interact with the user and suggest things to them automatically. Google Now is a part of that strategy.


This would be the Google Now that doesn't run on my Nexus One? :-)


You and me both, browlther. I found a Nexus 7 (thanks, visiting relatives) to go along with my aging Nexus One, and before I even knew what Now was, it figured out my commute (which is by bus, in Chengdu, China), telling me how long it would take that day based on traffic. I was pretty floored, since at that point I thought of the 7 as kind of a toy.


I wish Google Now was that good for me. I've used the same commute since starting to use Google Now months ago, but it keeps telling me to use an alternate route that takes the same time, but has tolls, busier roads and a higher probability of delays. I can't seem to get it to figure out that I won't go that way.

While I can use Google Now on my Galaxy S III, apparently Google doesn't want me using it if I won't do things their way.


I guess? The fact that the CM team doesn't even generate 10.1 builds for the Passion is a pretty good indicator that it's too weak. Or HTC won't upgrade the graphics drivers.


That's probably the case, although I'm a bit lost on the distinction between what GN does and the regular reminders from my calendar/mail client etc. It's powerful enough to run maps with little 3d buildings and stuff, so I've never been wholly clear on why it's stuck on Android 2.3.


I 'upgraded' my Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S to ICS, and it's absolutely ridiculously bad. I blame Sony for most issues, but the fact is ICS is bigger and uses way too much space for older devices that sold with none. I imagine JB even more so.

On my HP Touchpad though, Jellybean runs like a charm. I think the real reason fragmentation was ever an issue is because so many devices shipped without enough space for apps.

It doesn't help of course that Google and their strategic app partners (see Facebook) assume that every device has a tonne of space (which modern devices do of course) and grow ridiculously big. Chrome and Currents are both unusably big on an older device.

Bit of a ramble, but in short you're getting a much much better experience by not upgrading, unless there's a way to hack that tiny storage partition?


The Nexus One? It barely has enough on device storage for 2.3 :(


The system partition on the Nexue One is only 145 MB.


It baffles me that everyone is so focused on Evernote when the connection is so obvious (probably deceptively so)


Also Glass.


Ding ding ding. That's the progression I envision. Next is Google Glass. After that, automobiles with the same integration. I'm both scared and excited to see what Google will be able to do with all the data they have feeding into Now.


Keep is a feature, Drive is the App (apple/oranges).


[deleted]


https://drive.google.com/keep/

It's under the Drive umbrella.


Wow, it's so useless and clunky.


Google Reader had an easy and clear migration path to export your data. I can't understand why people keep bashing Google for it. Just take your data to somewhere else. If tomorrow Keep goes away they'll do the same.


Seriously, I can understand that losing a service like google reader might be very impractical or disappointing but the amount of melodrama that is being shed is amazing, and to be quite frank some people are being quite whiny and entitled.

Is the closing of Reader ideal? NO! But you have to know something like that might happen, plus they're giving enough time for people to migrate to other services and exporting your data couldn't be easier.

My question is what are you going to do? Go to other services for everything, never use a google product again in case it closes down? I'd argue that there is even a better chance of any other small dedicated startup to fall apart than google closing down their one of their product, if you wan't to be really sure something is "forever", self host, but don't lie to yourself, that's not even close to a perfect solution.


> and to be quite frank some people are being quite whiny and entitled.

The mistake here is thinking that google's 'free' services are free. I am letting you spy on me (gather metrics on what I read, what I've marked as important, what I've shared with others) in exchange for the use of your product.

That type of data should be worth 10x more to an advertising company than the 5 or 10 dollars a month than I would pay for each service.


It's the loss of historical feed data that bothers me most. Sure, I can export the links to the feeds I have subscribed to, but that's the data I could have reconstructed myself.


What exactly are you referring to? If my understanding is correct you're able to export starred content as well.


Google Reader tracked a lot of data about your feed reading habits, including but not limited to:

- Average items/day published by subscriptions - Number and percentage of items that you actually read - Number of items you actually clicked, per-subscription - Time of day items are posted / items are read - What subscriptions haven't updated in a long time?

You are right about it exporting starred content, by the way. None of this other data, however, is available for export.


Setting aside syncing and caching (which are not trivial with hundreds of feeds), that solution doesn't address the problem of your readers. Google Reader was a social product, connecting readers to sources.

Basically, Google is canceling the direct RSS blog subscriptions that countless blog readers have accumulated over the years. To be sure, it's a fairly low barrier for them to export and thus renew through another provider (be it Twitter or another RSS reader or Google Plus). But even though this seems to readers of Hacker News like a fairly low barrier, some casual or less tech-savvy readers will be left behind.

At least that's what I expect to happen to my blog, which is followed by a very non-technical audience -- the bulk of whom subscribe through some Google Reader-powered source.


Some people were/are emotionally invested in Reader, and to an extent it was so good that many people were dissuaded from building a better RSS reader.


Then they'll build one now.


It's almost too late to do that. Products that were slowly grinding are now seeing much more traction, and the initial exodus has passed. There may be a second one when it is officially stopped, but it would be difficult to compete with those products that grabbed customers already.


There will definitely be a second exodus. People such as myself are waiting to see what "wins out" over the next few months. I'm still adding feeds to my Reader account.


I'm still using reader because I don't care for feedly working as an extension to my browser and the news blur interface doesn't appeal to me. I'm waiting to see if something else pops up that offers the syncing feature of reader with a decent web app.


I agree. I'll also add that TheOldReader is a bit of a pain to add to. You have to search for your feed in another window, then find the RSS or Atom link, then manually copy link to add it as a subscription. That's a lot of stepa. Also, I used their import queue, and nothing has happened for days.


Problem solved then. Other feed readers exist, so what's your point?!


There are other webmail providers, search engines and social networks too. What's your point?


Those haven't just been withdrawn. Google just opened up the feed aggregator space.


I obviously can take my RSS feeds elsewhere, but: 1) That elsewhere doesn't sync with my iOS Reeder app 2) RSS Caching! Google Reader cached the feeds, so after subscribing I can see older items, which are not in the current state of the feed. That "elsewhere" doesn't necessary have such a feature (especially if it is a new service).


Google Reader had an easy and clear migration path to export your data.

It's not just about the data: it's about the habits and familiarity surrounding the process of using the data.

In RSS, I've been using NetNewsWire for years, even though it's basically abandon-ware and has really fallen behind. Why do I keep using it? Because it works okay, and when I've tried to switch—most recently to DevonTHINK PRO—I've gone back to NetNewsWire.

I'd happily pay for a new version or for a better OS X desktop-only RSS app, but I'm a very small market.


They are doing an update of NetNewsWire, check the website.


I've been using Vienna[1] on OS X. It's open-source and has a nice interface.

[1] http://www.vienna-rss.org/


Reader is a desktop RSS app and it has been pretty popular app for OSX and iOS.


You probably mean Reeder instead of Reader. It's my favorite RSS app. FWIW, the author has stated the app will continue working after Google Reader disappears. I don't know about the details.


We should all start using Google Plus more. Still don't understand why people won't make the switch.


There's not much to do on there. I see image memes that aren't interesting. I scroll down to find a "What's hot" box with some boring thing from the NRA. Why does Google think I want to see anything from the NRA?

The rest is news and updates I already saw on Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds. This is with a few carefully curated circles. I culled a few people out for flooding me with uninteresting things, but G+ hasn't removed their posts from the stream. The rest are people who either don't post at all or don't post often.


Google Plus came alive for me when I added a Fraser Cain's shared Science Circle: https://plus.google.com/110701307803962595019/posts/CcPsCorM... There are similarly interesting circles focused on technology, futurism, etc.


Now that I think about it, G+ got less interesting around the same time I culled some shared circles I added when G+ launched. I saw this circle share the other day and added it. Now G+ is interesting again. Weird.


I actually get pretty relevant/entertaining things in my what's hot feed.

I'm pretty sure it depends on who you follow, it only takes a minute to search for a couple of your interests and follow them but worth it


Google Plus isn't a replacement for RSS.

I am subscribed to 100+ RSS feeds that have no corollary in Google+ and likely never will.


You realise there were feed services that went kaput because of Reader[1] and one fine day Google decided to give it an injection. Is it really that difficult to see this happening to sth like Evernote or Simplenote? I mean seeing Google's reach it's very much possible.

And as Malik has raised the question in his post - what's in it for Google? No one seems to know this. They might just be testing one of their APIs by building this app.

Anyway, this app is clunky.

[1]Google Reader used to mean RSS the way Search means Google Search and this is very important.


> You realise there were feed services that went kaput because of Reader

People keep saying something like this without providing real examples. I can believe Reader's existence might have depressed the market for new feed readers (though there have long been competitors around--lots of open source and built in ones, and a few for-pay ones too, like Feedly), but I haven't been able to personally think of any feed readers that were crushed by Reader coming out.

I may just have forgotten them, though (2005 was a long time ago). Anyone have good examples?


>>I may just have forgotten them, though (2005 was a long time ago).

Yeah, good point :-)

There was Bloglines. It is still there, only difference being - it's a ghost town now.

There used to be FeedDemon's own sync and now FeedDemon is jumping into the pyre with Reader.

It's been long and I am out of example. Maybe others will bring some.

But thing in this way - "because when the company launched Google Reader in 2005, its free price tag undercut and then virtually destroyed the market for competitive products."[1]

Thing this way - what about an startup that wants to enter hosted mail(web mail too) and they won't because of GMail. The same can be said about IM(for personal use; not those dev chat apps), Forum(Groups?), blah. And Google has good reason to kill them too.

[1]http://www.loopinsight.com/2013/03/19/this-is-what-pisses-me...


The same could be said when they started Google - at the time Altavista was dominant in search. If you're that easily dissuaded, you shouldn't be in startups. There's almost always an existing solution to the problem you're trying to solve.


Altavista wasn't an arm of one of the most powerful, valuable, and influential companies on earth.


No, but at the time, the Internet was also about 1/100th of what it is today and Altavista was still worth about $3bn. It's hard to picture now, but back in 1999 Altavista and Yahoo were towering giants online.


AV was spawned by researchers from DEC in 1995 a full 3 years before Google came on the scene. I'd say Google was the severe underdog at the time.


Bloglines killed themselves when they tried to redesign into a Digg competitor instead of a feed reader.


What is "sth"? Services? Software?


Probably short for "something". See definition #1 here:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sth


its a terrible shorthand for "something". I always read it as "sith".


I am from India and so I grew up on British English and have stuck to that. I was gifted a Oxford Pocket Dictionary when I was a kid, by an uncle. I practically learned my English with that dictionary, had it till recently when I passed it down to my niece(who is in 5th grade as of now).

Now, you'll have to trust me on these two statements:

1. I did learn "sth 'can' be used for something" from that old good little dictionary[1] and did not pick it from the Internet or SMS and it's a valid use. (Though, I see it also means South in US Eng)

2. That is probably the best dictionary I've come across, even better than OALD, I had them both and hardly ever used the latter (:-) ).

[1]http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/sth?q=sth - not Oxford link but just as good.


Same here in China. I grew up learning English using mostly British textbooks and sth is introduced to us quite early, pretty much like xyz in algebra. I'm actually quite surprised to find out it's perhaps not that common in the US.


In my experience you'd be hard pressed to find 'sth' used in the US (same for sb), most people would type it out to avoid ambiguity with 'south' and other words. In SMS and other short formats, phonetic spellings like 'sumthin' are more common.

I've only ever seen South abbreviated as S, never as sth.


I grew up in England learning English. sth is not very common here either.


Thanks for the explanation. I grew up in the USA, and covered a fair bit of British literature in school, but I've never encountered this usage before.


It's "something".


This has probably been said 100 times already on 100 other HN threads, but so what? Quit the whining. I have been using Reader for years, and I'm mildly disappointing that they're closing it. I know perfectly well that there will be a dozen solid replacements that probably have more features before Reader actually dies. That's the way the tech world works - services close all the time for any number of reasons. None of them is all that special, though - if the service genuinely added value for lots of people, then there will be replacements, and if there isn't one, then make one yourself and bask in the profitability.

If you're that upset about it, then what do you really want from the tech world? A world where no service is ever killed or changed in a way that makes it less useful to you? We wouldn't have all of the awesome stuff that we have now if thousands of companies weren't willing to kill or change stuff that was unprofitable and take a chance on something new. At least Google is being pretty nice about it - we have months of notice and easy ways to get our feed lists out of Reader. They could have just up and pulled the plug without telling anyone or giving anyone a chance to get data out. Lots of services have been killed in just that way before.

Personally, I'm waiting a few weeks for all of the other services to settle down and get used to the massive traffic influx. After that, I expect I'll find something better than Reader and get used to that. And then that will be killed someday too, and I'll have to find yet another thing. Life goes on.


A lot of people just don't want to go the hassle of discovering, learning and configuring new tools. If I look at my daily toolset - between social networking, document management/creation, task tracking, work tools - I have on the order of 40 - 50 different tools. Each one of those tools has taken me some amount of effort to really come up to speed on so that I'm productive.

For example - I use Evernote for tracking meetings, and I use Omnifocus for personal task tracking. It took me 6-10 hours to learn the ins and outs of each of those tools - and I'm pretty happy with the way they work for me. More importantly, I'm reasonably certain that both of those tools/services will be around several years from now, so I can continue to use them, track my tasks, without having to pick up a new tool.

This concept of tool persistence is really important and valuable for a certain segment of the population - and I think it's what Om is expressing here. He doesn't really trust that Google will persist their attention to "Keep", because they've started shutting down other popular services after a few years, so what's to prevent them from doing the same thing with "Keep". He'll stick with evernote, and I can understand why. It's really an attempt to make it clear why Evernote should be successful in the face of an attack by Google.


Anyone else remember Google Notebook? Yeah, they killed that too. Pretty much Evernote before Evernote got big.

No thanks, Google.


Yeah, notebook was one of the first times I was seriously starting to use a 3rd party service, then it was yanked. And now it's back, as 'keep'. And in 2-3 years it'll be gone again. And Reader will be back as some 'feature' in Google Drive (or it'll be called 'Docs' again, or still remain as 'Docs' as some of the google drive/docs pages still point out).


I used Google Notebook extensively and wasn't surprised. It was laden with layout issues and paste with styles bugs. It was great while it lasted, but I personally didn't find it that shocking when it was closed.

There were plenty of other notebooks on the internet that actually had more features that worked better, a lot of them had methods to import from Google Notebook as well. Notebook was fading with Google Docs gaining steam (and I know they both had different feature sets).

They did keep Google Notebook running for a fairly significant time before they finally closed the doors and migrated the data to Drive.


I loved Notebook and have yet to find something comparable.


So this is a Google Notebook version 2 remade based on what they learnt the first time. I only see benefits.


Merits of whether Keep is comparable to Reader aside - I wonder how long we're going to be seeing the "...but Google Reader" refrain from pundits.

The camps of opinion I've seen on how Google should behave:

1) Pundits: Support an increasingly burdensome array of fringe services which cost them more than they gain (in their opinion)

2) HN: Reduce their experimental forays and leave (for now) private/small companies to their niches.

3) Coders: open source the services when shuttering.

1 and 2 would seem anathema to Google - the next Facebook could be hiding in either the organizational lethargy created by the former or the failure to act on the latter.

3 is going to be prohibitively expensive or difficult depending on how the service was built.

I'm just not sure there's anything other than a lot of sound and fury in the future of these discussions, which makes them boring.


Reader generated a disproportionate media outcry because it was such a great service for news junkies - and reporters in general tend to be news junkies. The response was greatly disproportionate when compared to say, the shutdown of Posterous or even other Google service shutdowns over the years... I suspect because of human nature, where reporters assume that everyone else is like them and reads 100 publications a day.

Open sourcing it sounds great, but folks are saying that with zero knowledge of what the service actually looks like under the hood. I can only think they're assuming it looks like a common web service stack like LAMP or rails or something that would actually make sense to anyone if they got the code.


Can I instead be in 4) whatever [0]

As a user of Google Reader since too long ago to remember, I'm annoyed that I have to find an alternative but it also shouldn't be sparking a discussion about high-level, long-term Google strategy.

[0]: http://hackingdistributed.com/2013/03/17/google-reader/


I fully agree with Om here. In fact, I have found myself avoiding Google services as much as possible now. GMail is the only one I am using regularly and which does not have good alternatives.

I also agree that Google is becoming like Microsoft, trying everything.

I'm going to stay with companies like Evernote.


And the nice thing about gmail is that, if you had to move off of it, you could (as long as they keep the imap interface around: http://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/417/export-gmail-... ).

There may be no feature complete alternatives, but there sure are a lot of email readers out there if you had to move off of it.


As you do with google reader. You can fully export your feeds and move elsewhere. At /least/ they're letting you keep your data. I'm not saying it didn't feel like a dick move... but at least they make it easy to move away. I already switched to another reader and I'm getting more used to it every day. We may be emotionally attached, but the world moves on. How many of these small companies you give money to give you the freedom to download your data?


My understanding is that there are saved stories and meta data that you can't export from google reader (mostly based on comments on this thread https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5371725 because I don't use Google Reader and never have). Is my supposition incorrect?


The way they export your favorites / shares is just a json API that isn't standard. Services will rapidly pick up importing from that format, but besides the feed xml file none of what they give you is that portable.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this will soon no longer be true for Google Calendar. They're dropping CalDav.


They're not dropping CalDav, they're just going to start screening its access: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/19gOLSlkTzHi-zub3BkMv7Ot0JML...


So how does that help me if I want to sync iCal with Google Calendar?

Addendum: The way I read that form, they will only consider whitelisting apps if the developers ask for it. As a user, I'm still screwed.


Seems practically a given that Apple iCal and iOS will be whitelisted by Google as clients.

Even Windows Phone 8 has that confirmed: http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/15/google-caldav-support-sti...


To me it's not a given since AFAICT Apple software doesn't sync with Google Calendar over CalDav by default. Particularly on iOS you have to go out of your way to enable it—viz. you have to select 'Exchange account' instead of 'Google account'.

In any case, if they're committed to preserving this feature then why are they implementing screening?


CalDav is what the iOS Add Account option for Google uses to sync: http://support.google.com/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&a...

Seems unlikely they'll drop it given their approach to iOS so far has been to infiltrate the ecosystem with their own Google apps, though never say never I suppose.

As for why they're pushing people towards their own Calendar API, presumably so they can add/promote new features specific to Calendar which aren't present in CalDav. They can get more usage of Calendar-specific APIS/Features by pushing devs towards their own version, instead of letting them default to the CalDav API because that's what they're familiar with.

The responses gathered from API request form also act as a feedback mechanism for their own Calendar API, which they can use to fix any deficiencies.


>Seems unlikely they'll drop it given their approach to iOS so far has been to infiltrate the ecosystem with their own Google apps

Yes, and syncing Calendar data with Apple's calendar App is not this strategy.

Releasing a standalone "Calendar" app for iOS to keep it accessible, controlled, and branded on iOS devices after it stops working and Apple doesn't bother to request whitelisting but promotes iCloud instead, is.


Not sure why Google would block themselves server-side if they themselves wanted the current iOS 6 account-sync set up to continue. Apple doesn't really factor into it at all.

Google breaking off into their own Calendar app is a possibility, but its not clear cut that they would do this since there's a definite "stickiness" to having the Calendar sync option pre-checked as soon as the user adds his/her GMail account.


Look, the announcement was clear that they are sunsetting the CalDAV API and if someone wants to continue using it, they need to make a request to Google, and explain why. (Via the form you linked to previously)

One would hope Google has enough sense just to keep this working with no hiccups for Apple, but it also is not clear cut that they will from the information we've been given. (Or that Apple gives a shit either way)

It's not like they are seeking feedback on how to improve CalDAV, they're moving away from it.


I see.

Thanks for sharing. What a confusing mess!


Actually, if you'll read the ZNet article that post is based on you'll notice that users who didn't connect their Windows Phone calendars to their Google accounts before February are still screwed!

See also http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US//windows-8/use-google-win... :

  I want to connect my Google account after January 30, 2013
  Here's what you need to know:
  
  Unfortunately, with Google changing the way it supports EAS, 
  your Google calendar can’t sync with the Calendar app.


Read the article again. Windows 8/RT isn't the same as Windows Phone (which Google confirmed in the article has been whitelisted). The source of that is the Windows team deciding not to add CardDav/CalDav support to the Metro-style Mail and Calendar apps, so you won't be able to use CardDav/CalDav from any other provider either.


So what about the decision to drop ActiveSync support for anything after Windows 7/Office 2010? If you buy a new windows machine and are a paying apps customer, you are pretty much screwed. Dropping CalDAV doesn't affect this, but it is icing on the cake since it's hardly a guarantee that Apple is going to request whitelisting to make sure it works. (They have iCloud after all & not seeking interoperability will push iCal users who weren't using it for this, toward it.)

CalDAV is the standard and it's pretty clear that Google is backing away from that along with ActiveSync for enterprises and therefore silo-ing Calendar.


Where are you getting that they dropped Google Apps Activesync support for Outlook 2013?

A search brought up the main support page which says its upcoming (Under "OS and Microsoft Outlook® requirements"): http://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en-uk&hlrm=...

It also brought up a Google groups thread where a Google representative posted last month saying they're working on it: http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/apps/rUd8phVXs...

Also why would Apple have to request addition to the Google Calendar CalDav whitelist on iOS? Google could just whitelist it themselves since its them who decides whether or not it continues server-side.


>Where are you getting that they dropped Google Apps Activesync support for Outlook 2013?

From the original December announcement that's since been extended, amended, and clarified. And from the fact that at present, it still doesn't work.

Both of your links are relatively new developments. I'm glad to see that this is happening.

I've already spoken to why Apple would have to request whitelisting. The way Google announced plans to phase out CalDAV indicated such. Not for Apple expressly, but for anyone using CalDAV.

I hope you're right and I'm wrong, but none of this seems like simple "housekeeping" It seems like "platforming" or "silo-ing" Calendar in an analogous way to what Twitter did/is doing with its API and 3rd party clients. I readily admit this makes little sense for Calendar, but phasing out support for the most popular sync protocols used to by the 2 most popular software platforms -one of which is the open standard, then allowing them by exception only, is suspect.


Seems far easier to move from Google Reader to an alternative than that, and yet look at the amount of bitching.


I don't see how dropping one product == become untrustworthy.

This is like if you went to the supermarket every day to buy milk, flour, sugar, beans, and lettuce. And then the supermarket realises that it is uneconomical for them to provide lettuce, so they drop it, but they do start selling eggs. And you look at those eggs and say 'Yeah, Right. I'm not going to buy those. I remember what happened to the lettuce.'


It's more like if Walmart opened one of its big stores in your small home town and drove almost all of the smaller retailers for miles around out of business and a few years later said "Oh, this location sucks." and closed up shop.


Only if it took one week for another shopowner to start up again, and they gave 3 months notice. There was never even a cut in functionality; I'm already using Feedly instead of Google Reader, and Reader's still going to be around for another few months yet.


> 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.

I think this explains why Reader was killed... It competes with G+. Want updates from your favorite website? Follow them on G+.

It's a turn away from open formats and interoperability.


My impression of google from age ~15 was of a company who had balanced profitability with genuine altruistic intent. They had so many products, tools, services, libraries... everything and pretty much all of it was free and freely available.

It hasn't really changed that much, but jesus, my perception has. Charging for Google Maps was a warning sign, though it only really applied to companies, fair game. Wave was flippant, it came and went too fast to understand the gesture. Google Notes always needed some love and attention it was never going to get.

But Google Reader? It was/is uniquely useful. Widely supported, widely loved, widely used (as far as I can tell). It was the kind of thing that made me feel Google had your best interests at heart, I can't imagine it made them much money.

Just to clarify, I'm not upset about Google Reader, far from it http://theoldreader.com/ looks entirely capable of picking up the slack. It's just upsetting to see a company that I really thought was different is just a company with margins and directives and the rest. I guess I'm an idiot.


Does anybody remember Google Notebook? It did almost exactly what Keep does.

I used notes extensively, and one day... You know the drill.

Good luck to those who will jump on Keep. After notebook, I switched to MacJournal, it works great for me, and I am not thinking of switching to an online alternative. There are other tools that are better suited for keeping stuff, such as DevonThink (check Macupdate Promo).


To give you a sense of how important the notes were for me: I kept all the literature search for my thesis research, and my reviews in notes. Thankfully, they let me download the stuff I had in there. But, the data was useless in itself.


So this is the ugly side of "ship fast, ship often".

At some point, when you have a ton of resources and people are shipping products out the wazoo.....you have to kill products. When you kill products, you lose confidence for future product announcements and skew your engagement numbers.

What is a company like Google to do, when their larger products command most of their resources?


the tech community is curious sometimes. When a startup pivots, for a chance for something better its celebrated. When Kevin Rose shuts down oink cause it doesn't meet his initial expectations its applauded. Yet everyone wants to speculate how important Reader was to a vocal few (only google knows active user number) and they are the bad guy for possibly shutting down a niche service for a few to focus on bigger ambitions. Export and maybe one of the newer products are better, yet no one wants to event try that and would rather attack a reasonable business decision.


If a start up does not pivot it potentially dies, but google with its multi billion dollar revenue and infrastructure can keep it alive . They won't do it, because they don't get it.

G+ is a failure, as was wave and so many others from google stable. But G+ is important to this one guy, he is willing to sacrifice everything for this one.


but I think you proved my point. How many dead end services can google continue at their scale before it starts hurting much like microsoft ? Google kills things quickly and tries something new. I applaud them on taking this mindset. G+ is far from a failure. The only people that say this are people that haven't tried it yet


People don't live in ghost town. Facebook has won agree that gracefully


FB is a ghost town for me, despite having bigger amount of "friends" there than on G+...

The difference is that the occasional content on FB is utterly lost between tons of "apps" and ads, to the point that I can count the amount of times I visited FB in 2012 on fingers.

FB's last "pro" is Messenger... which I use actually to talk to only one person.


I hope this satire.

They discontinued Reader and added a new feature to Drive. Get over it. If you don't like it, don't use it.


They've lost a lot of goodwill with this action.


I'm going to miss reader as much as anyone but it just seems like a buch of spoiled brats with a sense of entitlement whining at this point. Reader was provided as a free service. Google is shutting it down and giving everyone enough time to find an alternate service and access their OPML data via takeout. While some things may be lost forever via their article caching, Google doesn't owe anything to the Reader user base.


Of course, the Reader use base doesn't owe anything to Google. If Google isn't playing the game of social obligations, talking about 'entitlement' won't get them very far.


In order to have me as a user, you're going to maintain this until the heat death of the universe. I don't care if it's free! I deserve it!


This is the fundamental problem for any cloud services. You don't know if a small company like Evernote is going to go bust, too, and many have, sometimes bought to kill by Google and its ilk. So it's no safer than using large company products. And if not Evernote, some other service you once used, like say delicious. Or they don't update it as fast, and it gets clunky, like flickr (not coincidentally both bought and ruined by yahoo)

For real security of data and use: either

1. Download and install with local storage only

2. whatever service you do use, save all the things locally frequently, in multiple open data formats.


Without going into the whole debate of 'why should I use it when they're just going to Reader it?', does anyone else think this is a massive PR strategy failure? Seriously, the worst time to announce a product must be just after you've decided to shut one down that has a, granted not overwhelmingly large, vocal user base currently flogging the company on all platforms.

Super bad timing, the product is tainted with negativity already, if they'd given it even a fortnight to die off it'd be a much better play.


Anyone in the "Just let me pay for Reader" brigade (I'm not sure whether or not Om is a member, though it seems likely given the "How much would you pay" poll I saw on one of his posts) has no basis for complaining about Keep.

Keep, unlike Reader, is a paid service. A big point of Keep is to encourage people to use Drive - a storage service you pay for, once you fill up your introductory tier (keeping audio notes might help with that).


I'm not sure Keep lets you actually store an audio note. I believe it's just speech to text. Of course nothing stops you dropping a recorded note into Drive, but I don't think the Keep interface supports them.

EDIT: Looks like it both transcribes and keeps the audio available. http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57575465-285/get-started...


Personally, I have grown weary of the Google intelligence umbrella. I recently closed my Google account, as my CR-48 finally died, and moved my email to another company. I use Evernote for my notekeeping and Flickr for photos. I use Google only for search these days.

Now, would it be nice to have all of that under one company? Sure, but there are too many privacy issues when doing so under Google.


You are also welcome to stop using Google Search, Gmail (and contacts), Google Drive/Documents, Google+, Google Calendar, and YouTube, ...

Because, you know, they are from the same company responsbile for the demise of Google Reader, and the less you get DEPENDENT on them, the least you will suffer from the demise of another product as this.

Or you can move on.


There's alternatives to all of the Google services, although some will be harder to replace in the short term than others.

In terms of usefulness, Reader, as an information sieve, is a tool that saved me hours a week. If Google had offered a paid version to keep Reader going instead of shutting Reader down, I would have paid. Now I don't trust any "free" service they offer to be there in the long term. I guess Google "free" isn't "free". Explains why both OSS and commercial software(with long term agreements) are better choices.


I pride myself on being very calm and patient, even while my 9 month old is screaming in my ear and smashing the keyboard while I try to type this.

I don't normally comment much, and when I do I try not to be negative. One thing I discovered in the last few days is that I have absolutely no patience for whining, especially when coming from grown man. This post, and a lot of comments around here sound like whining to me. These are my feelings regarding the recent Google Reader news and the comments surrounding it..

I want to be clear, I know why people are pissed off, some are angry because their beloved product was taken away, and for some, their trust was broken, perhaps more than once. It has certainly struck a nerve, and I want to have these conversations, but something about the tone of the people has really turned me off.

</end of whine>


Why stop with Google Reader and Keep ? The article seems to suggest that just because Google pulled the plug on Reader that it will pull the plug on any product it releases. Yes pulling down Reader was a bad idea but this is an overreaction.


Question I would ask: How would you feel if Google acquired Feedly tomorrow?

Reason I ask: Google scrapped Notebook (http://www.google.com/googlenotebook/faq.html) a while back, and has now released Google Keep. To me, this is a tear down and rebranding. I can't speak to the reason of it, but I would guess Google Keep already has more users than Notebook did. I can't speak for Google, but I certainly know their goal is not to lose 500k users to Feedly. My guess being, they likely want to take the smoothest, but also cheapest, way out of a product that they can no longer maintain.


My two cents: trust only apps that allows to export 100% of your data, or even better saves your data in an open format accessible through API.

At the end of the day it is not about Google or Microsoft or Evernote, but about not losing data You created.


Is it just me or did Google become a lot more focused on monetization and a lot less on protecting the open web and making great products as soon as Marissa Mayer left?


If Google keep creating new things, how can it manage so many products? Killing some old products is a good option for them, though bad for users.


I think part of the reader problem is that, like me, many people think of reader as a few servers on the bottom of a rack at a huge datacenter. Just a few blinking lights next to the floor that nobody thinks about or has to really do anything to keep them blinking.

I'm sure people worked on it but in the grand scheme of things it was a drop in the bucket.


If Google kills Reader, http://ifGoogleKillsReader.tumblr.com/


I just have an image for you: http://cl.ly/image/2K2X1U1X0g2r


Hey you know what would be super xtra cool? If this Keep thing let you keep clipping links, like, automatically, from the same site, whenever new stuff is published, into your Google Drive(TM), which is super cool b/c it syncs down to your computer so you can read those clips offline... OH NEVERMIND.


People that want reader are not using +. It's awesome! And any way I can increase ROI on my Adwords I support. If google can suggest my brand more often to the proper peeps based off data collected that means greater sales for me. Know the user!


If at this point Google reinstates Reader, I can tell you they will win many hearts and goodwill. I don't remember a product being brought back from grave and if they were to do it, they will be viewed as a genuinely considerate company (IMO).


I'd be extremely surprised if they reinstate Reader. They'd only reinstate it if they genuinely didn't expect this much of an outcry, but I'm sure they did. Google knew that Reader was a product mostly used by tech savvy people and it was obvious that people were gonna criticize Google over this decision (rightly so). Hard part is almost over for them anyway. There are some people who lost respect to Google and some of them always gonna be skeptical before using any of Google's products (I'm one of them), but they'll be in the minority and I'm sure Google doesn't give a fuck about them anyway.


> If at this point Google reinstates Reader, I can tell you they will win many hearts and goodwill.

except these good will and hearts from various people who complained won't be paying any money to google (at least, for this particular product).


I hope Google don’t renege. Now they’ve said they are shuttering Reader it has made the market for alternatives viable again. Developers are actually building real alternatives for us to switch to, which is a good thing.


I wouldn't hold your breath.


Give it to me for freeeeee!!!!

But listen to me when I tell you how to run your service that costs money.

Riiiiigghhhttt.


It is absurd to expect a business to not to shift its priorities.

Google did more harm to RSS technology by letting it deteriorate over years. Now that it's gone, I am very hopeful that RSS will evolve and deliver content in better and new ways.


Most businesses are singularly focused and don't shift priorities. Think restaurants, stores, manufacturers, even small software companies. Only large companies can even afford to think about shifting priorities rather than staying laser focused on their original mission.


For those who are upset by Reader shutdown and want more, check out Schemer https://www.schemer.com, a site that is more strategic than Reader to Google.


Expecting services to continue forever is like expecting that you will never be laid off.

It is a rude awakening when it happens, but it should hardly be surprising for anyone that has been around for a while.


The latent support for this post: you won't lose Evernote 7 years later.

But who knows?


The question is whether or not that's more or less likely than Keep being around for that same amount of time. In Om's mind that balance has clearly shifted.


RSS reader on the side I dont get the idea of Google Keep. It does not seem the notes are saved to Google Drive. Can I access them offline? Are they sync'd with my phone?


Evernote isn't exactly an angel. They butchered Skitch into a buggy piece of software that barely works.


I think the point is they don't have to be an angel for you to trust them. If they were to do what Google is doing now, they would loose a tremendous amount of money. I think we all trust them to not want to loose money.


Google Plus. Google Plus. Google Plus.


Keep is great - this is music to my ears... since buying a Nexus 4 I couldn't believe there wasn't a built-in app for notes, and I don't feel like paying for such a simple tool (sorry evernote) so I was using Gtasks... now that this is out, I'm happy (for now) still... damn u google for the inability to use BT and WIFI at the SAME TIME on a Nexus!!!!


ever note has a free version.


First impression: Keep needs drag and drop photo uploading.


The man got a point!


Before Google+ came along, Google had many great products and embraced the OpenWeb. Now Google has abandoned Open Standards like RSS and CalDAV, and I think Google is more interested in building their own walled garden.


Bingo. It's very unfortunate too, as Google were uniquely positioned to be great defenders of the Open Web. Who else has the clout to do it now, as well as the motivation? Does anybody see Marissa moving Yahoo that way? I'm guessing "no" but would love to be proven wrong. It won't be Microsoft, you can bet on that. Red Hat are a moderately powerful company, but they aren't that big and could wind up acquired by Oracle tomorrow for all we know. And they aren't that into services and web-apps. Mozilla have a lot of clout on the browser side, but arguably much less so than in years past, as their market share has slipped.

Amazon? Nope, don't see them stepping up to defend the Open Web.

Facebook? Hell no.

LinkedIn? No.

Sun? Maybe if they hadn't been acquired by Oracle.

IBM? Maybe not totally ridiculous, but history doesn't paint the best picture of IBM in this regard. And they also don't really offer services over the web, like a search engine. Maybe they could scale Watson up to webscale and make that the new Google?

Wolfram? No.

DuckDuckGo? Right spirit, but I don't think they are influential enough.

Opera? Not influential enough.

Canonical? No.

Novell? Eh, no.

HP? No.

This isn't looking too promising.... :-(

Edit: Duh, I missed a big one! The Wikimedia Foundation! They are probably one of the strongest backers of the Open Web, and definitely have a little bit of influence, thanks to WIkipedia and related projects.


I think there is a compelling case Microsoft should move in the other direction. Will they have the right leadership in the future to do this, I don't know. Microsoft is not a lost cause.

I came of age as an active Slashdot reader. At that time Microsoft was seen as an arch villain that could do nothing but evil. Curiously, today Google has a far deeper and more chilling degree of influence far beyond what Microsoft had. Microsoft had a monopoly on an open platform, Google knows everything public about you, a lot of private stuff too, possibly can run facial recognition of you against every picture on the internet, and wants to also be able to predict what you are about to do. And they have a monopoly on online advertising. Unelected regulators and elected representatives are terrified of Google. Google has gotten a blank slate pretty much to do what they want, perhaps from a national security standpoint alone.

Google today, makes the Microsoft of yesterday look like a used child's toy.

I see the attitude toward any dominant government or corporation as a pretty good thermostat toward a group's value of freedom and openness, and quite frankly the free pass Google gets here (relative to Microsoft in 1998) is disturbing.


>Google today, makes the Microsoft of yesterday look like a used child's toy.

I agree with you completely with regards to privacy and all the information that Google has about users. However, the difference is that Microsoft of yesterday had a stranglehold on users' choice. It was really hard to be productive by NOT using windows operating system and the whole ecosystem that came with it.

Today you don't want Google search? Use Bing or ddg. Gmail? There are countless other free webmail providers. Google+? You have Facebook, Twitter and so on. Youtube? DailyMotion, Metacafe, etc. Android phones? You have iOS, WP8 devices.

While Google really is very powerful, one still has good alternatives.


I'd like to see it, but I have a hard time buying that this could happen. There is a lot of history and inertia at play with MS, that argues against them embracing an Open world.

I actually think Yahoo could be a bit of a dark horse here, but it's hard to guess where Marissa Mayer's head is at in this regard. Yahoo have actually done some cool stuff, in terms of Open Standards and Open Source. They were early with embracing RDFa and Microformats, for example, and some cool OSS code has come from Yahoo, including, IIRC, Hadoop. But obviously a lot has changed at Yahoo since then, so I dunno what to think about them right now.


What a terrible joke. We are talking about a company that if left unchallenged, would have destroyed everything free and open source stands for. For what? For utterly selfish domination. Microsoft is rotten to the core from the very beginning. They didn't started for making "better stuff". "That doesn't matters" to them. And they proved many times that they haven't changed at all.


> Google today, makes the Microsoft of yesterday look like a used child's toy.

That's a childish opinion. A grown up would see how Microsoft is constantly threatening with a nuclear patents war, sliding in that pool of companies that can't innovate any more and so they turn to litigation.

If anything I'm seeing signals that Microsoft is turning into a patents troll.

The wishful thinking on Microsoft turning into a beam of openness would be laughable, if it wouldn't highlight the tragedy of human nature (we are so stupid sometimes).


Influential or not, Opera surrendered when they switched to WebKit/Chromium. In terms of defending the open web, they're irrelevant now.

However, I wouldn't dismiss Microsoft so quickly. They're a serious problem on many fronts and will probably switch sides once this battle is done, but they have plenty of reasons to oppose a WebKit monoculture, at least. When you don't have many allies, you take what you can get.


Opera didn't have much choice after their 2012 earnings were well below estimate and the market for there desktop browser, despite how awesome it is, is just too small. Their only strong point is mobile. I don't know why they haven't open-sourced the old desktop core yet, I suppose it's possible that they are holding on to hope that they can mold most of it around webkit and keep it as good as it's always been.


I know it's insane of me to suggest this, but Apple has pretty broad support for many open standards. Most iCloud services utilize open standards, they created WebKit, they broke Flash's grip on the web, they contribute to a lot of important hardware standards as well as software (mini display port and mDNS come to mind). They've been a force improving clang/llvm. Most of their file formats are XML based. Big contributors to the *DAV formats.

Apple isn't perfect and is not an exemplar of a libre philosophy. Their most strategic stuff is pretty much all closed. But they have embraced a lot more openness than people give them credit. With Google moving everything into their own APIs it might not be long before Apple is more open than Google.

Apparently Google's even made their own proprietary zigbee competitor for Android@home. Whyyyyyyyyy.


You forgot Mozilla - pretty much the only company left that supports what you mentioned.


Mozilla is mentioned. :-) End of the first paragraph:

Mozilla have a lot of clout on the browser side, but arguably much less so than in years past, as their market share has slipped.


In the past a huge majority of their revenue was from Google being their default search, and I highly doubt that has changed. If we set up a scenario where Google are the enemy, Mozilla has very little influence there.


Whoops, completely missed that!


Redhat tried being a web company. They launched their own social network about six or seven years that played nice with the others as far as possible. Mugshot closed down after a couple of years, the source was still available last I knew.


Valve? They're like the new Google in terms of being a popularly beloved company.


Perhaps, Dropbox?

They are well positioned for becoming the filesystem of the web, and may have some interest in defending open file formats and protocols.


File formats, sure, but I don't think Dropbox is that interested in open protocols (or at least open storage/sync protocols), for obvious reasons.


> This isn't looking too promising.... :-(

Well, perhaps this is a market opportunity. Many people need products that embrace the OpenWeb.

Google was a good champion. But Google is an advertising company after all, and their primary business is to spy on your datastream in order to sell your attention to advertisers.

So now that Google seems to be abandoning the OpenWeb, perhaps this will create a void that can be filled by others...


I suspect "open" and "strategic reduction of a competitors advantage" are more strongly linked


This is ridiculous. How hard is it to import an OPML file into any of the other feed services that already exist on the web, or those popping up everyday. Do we really need to keep regurgitating this story?! it's been dominating the front page for a week now.

Here are the differences between Reader and Keep: Reader was an abandoned and an unclaimed product, kept on life support. Keep is a feature of Drive, a product which actually is acknowledged to be under someone's management

I hope Evernote will exist as it is now forever and that the author won't have eat his words someday.


It's just hard to tell what's going to stick around, and what's going to disappear. Microsoft gave you a disk, and they support a crazy amount of backwards compatibility even on the newest os. I think apple has been fairly clear, old stuff won't run on new machines. Google, just kind of turns stuff off. wave had a manager. buzz had a manager. the finance api had a manager.

I get it, they need to get rid of old stuff. It just feels like a new way of doing that. People stick to windows because stuff keeps working, even if MS would rather it dies. People avoid OSX, because stuff stops working with new versions of the OS. There's nothing wrong with people abandoning google forever over little things.

Frankly, I'd be super sad if i had to leave gmail, i've used it for almost 9 years, and i really love it. But, will gmail be around in 5 years? 10? For almost a decade, i was utterly convinced gmail would live forever. I'm not so sure now. What happens when google wants us to all move to NewSocialNowWaveBuzzPlus thing, and puts gmail on life support to encourage that? Is it likely? no, of course not. Is it within the realm of possibility? Yes.


Google served a giant turd sandwich to a bunch of journalists by closing Reader. Now Google is eating the shit it created. Google is going to continue eating shit until they grovel.

Unfortunately for Google, no one is responsible for closing Reader, thus no one will step up to the plate and fix this PR disaster.

There is a clear path to fix this mess, and I guarantee no one at Google has the humility to fix the problem.


It's hardly a PR disaster or a mess needs cleaning. It's just some pissy folks that are taking a little longer to get over it. It'll pass I'm just tired of hearing about it.


How long to you have to be tired of hearing about it before you admit it is a PR mess?

If the Google reader closing is mentioned in new Google product announcements a month from now, will you admit this was a PR disaster? How about a year from now?

Google needs to grovel to get their hands around this. By admitting mistake, they can actually redirect the message to something positive.

BTW, I agree with you completely. It is trivial for me to switch services, and I am tired of hearing about it. That being said, Google is eating its own shit sandwich. Google has no one to blame but themselves.


Really, groveling? yeah if anyone mentions Reader in a month's time it will be an issue. It's not a main new story, and Google won't get anything back by reversing their decision, the damage is already done. Some people are being overly dramatic and hypersensitive, they'll realize that and they'll get over it, as always.


Forget about "Reader" per se. Given that Google has sunsetted so many products recently, would you bet a key part of your small business infrastructure on an Evernote-killer by Google, or would you prefer to pay a company for Evernote?


You could be correct that this will just blow over. We shall find out.

The problem is that journalists tend to follow their leader, and this was written by Om himself. If I were a gambling man, I'd bet you will be proven wrong.


> How hard is it to import an OPML into any of the other feed services that already exist on the web, or those popping up everyday. Do we really need to keep regurgitating this story?

I think you have missed previous discussions about the irreplaceable parts of Google Reader. Hints: going back in time for articles that are not present in the current feed, autotranslation of posts.


Well, the issue is not closing one service but how they just closed one widely used product and are keeping Google+ around, which sends less traffic around the web.

Apart from that, it's about Google's departure from "we do what's best for users" to "we will keep only a few things around and kill others even if you use them daily".

Personally, I never used Reader that much. Instead, I went for Feedly which used Reader as back end and Feedly is going to transition smoothly, so I am not affected. And even if they allow exporting, how long is it before they start killing other features/apps that I use? That's my(and others') concern here.

Re:Microsoft, they are the favorite scapegoat for tech press. Apple, Google and everyone else is becoming next MS. ;)


Is this also a warning to Evernote to never remove features? I'd hate to be a company that makes products that Om uses.


Removing or fundamentally disabling a service that many people depend upon is qualitatively different from merely removing a feature.

Google dropping Reader has potential impact more like Yahoo!'s debacle with the Delicious relaunch. That change was so drastic that it was effectively a data-loss event for most users, obliterating years of carefully curated data. As Om points out, such actions are very destructive of brand trust. That's a risky position for any online services company to voluntarily put itself in.

FWIW, Evernote has removed significant features (esp. regarding Skitch) and gotten quite a bit of heat over it.


So what's the solution? To keep products and strategy static forever so that nobody gets perturbed?

It seems like Google has given ample time and accessibility for its users and developers to adapt.


I don't think there is a solution. It's a situation of inherent conflict which the involved parties just have to deal with. On one hand, no individual or organization can be expected to support a service that doesn't align with their goals and interests. On the other, it's unreasonable to expect people who valued the project to go quietly into the night. I view that as part of the shutdown cost for a popular service.

> It seems like Google has given ample time and accessibility for its users and developers to adapt.

I agree. But Reader has a significant online community around it. The friction and uncertainty created by Google's decision is bound to find an outlet.


Products are different than features.

And the point is, if Google is "going social" and streamlining everything to Google+, why did this product even get released? Why isn't it just some new social storage feature on Google+?

The reality is that Google is the new "Old Yahoo". New product come out with a big fanfare, some techies get excited for a month, and then 2 years later it gets unplugged for some "bold new direction."

The point is, every product costs a user something. If not money, then at least their time and energy learning to use the product. When a user comes to rely on that product and it gets deleted (especially when the company is making money like crazy), users lose faith in the company.


> The reality is that Google is the new "Old Yahoo".

Wow, this is the first time I've seen anyone put it that way, and it's completely true. I remember trying to rally around Yahoo Briefcase. Then Yahoo Photos. Then Yahoo 360. Or how about Microsoft?

But I guess it just comes back to companies being growth-oriented. If a service is launched, is not the company's core business, then stops growing, it's on the chopping block immediately. So ultimately it's much, much better as a user to go with a company that's dedicated to that task and lives and dies by it.

Viva Dropbox, Box, Evernote, etc..


We are talking about removing products that are widely used. Reader was not just a feature but a full product that Google killed.


A company that makes a product that users care substantially about? Yeah, what a shit use of effort that would be.


I don't know any company who would remove features that millions of people use every single day.


Yes, you only know a company that would remove a feature hundreds of millions of people use every day, from a product they've paid for to boot (see: Apple Maps).


Microsoft removed wordcount from Word way back when. Journalists bitched because they used it every day and it got put back.




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