Google’s decision to kill Google Reader underlines the risk you take with its apps. You never 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 moral obligations.
What you might see as essential business tools exist at 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 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.
Google has a financial incentive to keep paid-for Google Apps running. Yet app revenue is a tiny fraction of Google’s business. Google could leave thousands of users in the lurch without a blip on the annual result.
Closing Reader is a small annoyance, but it undermines trust in Google’s entire offering. A prudent business user can’t risk committing to such uncertainty.