“When considering whether or not to create a new product, Google asks the question, ‘Why not?’, while Apple asks the question, ‘Why?’”
~ some smart person who I can’t remember
Dear, sweet Google. How I love to hate you. You come up with crappy products (Google+) and push them down our throats. You come up with great products (Google Reader) and kill them off in spite of their adoring users (like me).
As you’ve probably heard, Google has decided to shut down Google Reader. Even though from a traffic generator, it currently dwarfs Google+.
My question is, why not at least see if people would pay for the service? Switch it to a freemium model for six months and see if that works. Heck, I pay for several “free” services – Dropbox and Evernote to name two – and would gladly pay for the survival of Google Reader.
But…the best that would do is allow Google to break even on Reader, or make a tiny profit. A profit that will never be more than a pindrop compared to Google’s ad revenue.
And therein lies the good and bad with Google. They make so much money from their ad products that they can play in all sorts of spaces, bringing new innovation to the world faster than any other company. But because they know where their bread is buttered, unless those products end up driving an insane amount of revenue-driving clicks, they will never be important enough for Google to a) make sure they’re great and b) keep supporting them.
That’s why we see Google launching silly things like this Google Translator Phrasebook app, that will likely never get close to the usage of Google Reader, while at the same time killing off Reader.
History will show that Reader was doomed because of this reason from the beginning. So I suppose we should be thankful for the time we had with it.