Well, you know, among photographers Apple is the almost universally beloved company. Everybody has a Mac, everybody has an iPhone, but we computer folks generally prefer Google.
Google is an interesting company. They produce extremely cool things, and by giving them away for free, they became incredibly rich. Like with Facebook, Google’s real product are their users, or better, their data, but compared to Facebook I have always felt that Google gives equally back. I’ve never felt ripped by them. What they give for your data is not a cage where they expect you to live your digital life, it’s a set of extremely useful tools, programs as well as programming libraries.
Sometimes I really wish they were a slightly more normal company. One that sells programs or services. It’s great to be given things like Google Search, GMail or Google Docs for free, but you begin to depend on their greatness, and once you do, it can really hurt if they close a service.
Like they’ll do with Google Reader. Reader is simply my most-used application. It’s my door to the Internet, it’s the way I organize what I want to read, how I want to read it and when. It’s a place where I am in control, where I pull what I want to see and where nobody can push things on me. It’s the heart of my information workflow and this heart is about to die.
I really wish they would continue the service and charge money for it. No problem. How much? Maybe a dollar a month would be the sweet spot, keeping most of their users from looking for alternatives.
At the moment there is a turmoil about it on Google+ and elsewhere, and I really ask myself if giving up on a product that makes for meager business but that users really, really want, is worth it. I think it was a bad move, ill considered, and the damage to their image as “Good Guys” can hardly be compensated by any savings from killing Reader. You know, it felt good to have a company that you could trust in. Now we all have our doubts.
Whichever way this is going to play out, I have no doubt that the Internet will provide a viable alternative until June. Several projects have been proposed and we will be able to carry on as usual. But maybe Google will even reconsider and #savereader. The demand is there.