Google’s decision to kill Google Reader underlines the risk you take when committing to the company’s technology stack. You really don’t know where you stand with Google and its products from one day to the next.
There’s an obvious danger relying on free software and services. The provider has no financial or contractual obligation to carry on delivering. Hardheaded commercial organisations like Google care little for any moral obligations.
What you might see as essential business tools exist only because of Google’s whim. The company can pull the plug at any moment.
This applies to Gmail and all the Google Drive apps. It applies to the Chrome browser, Google+, YouTube and Google Maps. All of these services are free. Google could stop them all tomorrow if it wishes.
As I wrote earlier: sometimes free is too high a price.
Google’s high-handed approach to running its business sounds alarm bells. I wouldn’t put my faith in a paid Google Apps account.
Sure Google has a financial incentive to keep Google Apps running, but the revenue from online business software is such a tiny fraction of the overall business that it could comfortably leave thousands of users in the lurch barely showing a blip on the annual result.
Closing Google Reader may only a small annoyance when taking a bigger picture view of technology, but it undermines trust in Google’s entire technology stack. A prudent business user can’t risk committing to an uncertain stack.
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- Google’s difficult vertical journey (billbennett.co.nz)